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Culture and Ideology at an Invented Place
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Culture and Ideology at an Invented Place (Hardback)

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Synopsis

Being a special kind of landscape, the theme park has become one of major subjects in interdisciplinary studies and received increasing scholarly attention in the past few decades. Perspectives have varied from American approaches which treat the theme park as the production base of the American Dream to various interpretation of the tourist space in semiotic, structural and post-modernistic approaches. Other studies of the theme park have been conducted in a practical way with a focus in economic development and urban designing for the local and peripheral surroundings. The body of research is enormous and has proved to be very beneficial in understanding the theme park as a multiple space in the ever-changing context. Overseas Chinese Town theme park (OCT) is one of the most popular tourist sights in China, a cultural space which epitomizes the country's cultural business and Shenzhen Special Economic Zone, an emerging metropolis. As the ultimate icon of Chinese and global cultural representation, the theme park has attracted visitors the world over. This book presents for the first time an analysis of narratives which surround the park.

The research of OCT is to shed a cultural, political and ideological light on the "modern pleasure space" constructed and consumed in contemporary China. In view of the overwhelming quantity of theme park study in the USA and Europe, a shift of orientation in the study of theme parks in China becomes significant as the emerging theme parks in the country are described as "springing up like bamboo shoots after a rain". As an important study of an important contemporary phenomenon, it illustrates in considerable detail the distinctive nature of Chinese theme park development and will be of interest to a range of readers in fields such as cultural studies, tourism, sociology and human geography. "Non-Western theme parks have attracted very little attention from social scientists, even though they can be considered important sites for the examination of the influence and limits of globalization. With this important study of the OCT theme park, Zhang provides us with a detailed examination of the extent to which the Western model of the theme park is replicated in the Chinese context. In this way, he provides crucial insights that will be of great interest to students of globalization."

-Professor Alan Bryman, University of Leicester "The work provides a very readable, critical review of the recent development of theme parks in China, in particular the Overseas Chinese Town Theme Park at Shenzen. The work is well-grounded in a critical understanding of the role of theme parks as cultural "texts"...As an important study of an important contemporary phenomenon, it illustrates in considerable detail the distinctive nature of OCT park and will be of interest to a range of readers in fields such as cultural studies, tourism, sociology and human geography." -Professor Stephen Williams, Staffordshire University

Zhang Pinggong holds a MA and a Ph.D in cultural and literary studies from Staffordshire University in England. He now teaches at Guangdong University of Foreign Studies in China, where he serves as Head of Department of British and American Cultural Subjects.

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