'Spatial Transmedia, Participatory Cultures and the Global Theme Park’

Activity: Talk or presentationInvited talk


Theme parks have often been devalued (Lukas, 2007: 183) and those who visit them characterised as cultural dupes (Bryman, 1995, 2004), passive consumers (Yoshimoto 1994) or children (Wasko, 2001, Giroux, 1994). Parks such as Disneyland and Walt Disney World have been discussed in terms of their ideological representations of national identities and nationhood (Fjellman,1992; Lukas, 2007; Marling 1997) or the cultural imperialist discourses inherent in opening parks in France or Asia (Hiaasen, 1998; Yoshimoto, 1994).
However, this paper argues that we must pay attention to the fact that, ‘even in the face of their apparent artificiality theme parks are meaningful to people’ (Lukas, 2008: 234).

This paper argues that theme parks are a key site for transmediality and
convergence culture, allowing visitors to inhabit the hyperdiegesis of narrative worlds and offering opportunities for synergy between films and rides (King 2000; Nelson 2008; Schatz 2015). They also present opportunities for participatory culture since, in the online knowledge networks formed amongst theme park fans, participants create and share content, information and advice, operating as ‘active participation of knowledge communities’ (Jenkins 2006:21). Offering an introduction to the idea of theme parks as a site for ‘spatial
transmedia’, the paper seeks to open avenues for discussion of key concepts in
studies of media convergence (Jenkins 2006) beyond the Western examples explored here, and to begin to better understand how global theme park spaces may challenge and complicate these.
Period16 Dec 2018
Event titleIntersections: Japanese and Western Fan Studies in Conversation Symposium
Event typeConference
LocationTokyo, JapanShow on map


  • fandom
  • themed spaces
  • participatory culture
  • Japan