Future imperfect: versions of science in the theme park

Deborah Philips

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Offering another reminder of the history of science's confrontations with popular experience, this article looks at the ways in which carnival sites draw upon a powerfully charged synthesis of the imaginative and rational. In the nicely ordered world exemplified by the Disney theme park, 'science' connotes the most progressive form of 'modernity' and 'futurity'. This latter itself connotes the ideal of the clean and proper bourgeois life. The article argues that the popularisation of science as progress has always, since the nineteenth century of Prince Albert’s 1851 Crystal Palace Great Exhibition, found itself a fertile ground in the purlieus of the theme park. Here, public pleasures in thrills have been harnessed to a particular view of science as benevolent in the company of capitalist commerce presented as utopic.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)136-149
Number of pages14
JournalNew Formations
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2003


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