Library Dissertation Showcase

A dreamland? Amusement parks creating a new culture for the masses at Coney Island

  • Year of Publication:
  • 2019

This dissertation is going to show how the amusement parks at Coney Island created a new mass culture at the turn of the century, focusing on how the businessmen manipulated the culture and the visitors consumed it. In the nineteenth century society was changing, as America was industrialising and immigration was increasing. However, entertainment was not evolving with it, as traditional Victorian entertainment was still attempting to reinforce moral behaviour and remove the sins of the city. However, this all changed with Coney Island, which gave visitors a new sense of freedom, by promoting the conflicting ideas of childhood and sexual promiscuity, while also embracing different classes and nationalities.

By expanding on previous work on Coney Island and looking at a range of sources, including those of mass culture and images, this dissertation will show how the amusement parks of Coney Island were a stepping stone between new and old culture. This was done through the use of amusements that put people in situations that differed highly from those within the city and the use of architecture immersing people in a fairy tale world.

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