Themes and hegemonies

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Disney's Epcot Marocco

An item we all know how to use, but with cultural differences.

A theme does not have to contrast with a single unified and hegemonic everyday grammar, but there has to be some everydayness for the theme to contrast with.

The patchwork city is hardly a new creation. Can there be themed places in a patchwork city where there is no one dominant definition of everyday ordinariness? Consider Epcot with its crowds of international visitors, who do not share the same everyday culture or grammar. Epcot works for them because its various themes contrast with each person's everyday. (For instance, the British area could be still themed even to the British visitors because it refers to a clichéed Britishness that is not identical with the more complicated everyday British life.)

We need to distinguish shared systemic and technological effects from shared cultural grammars. Door knobs and TV sets and automobiles and telephones and fast food become shared property, but their insertion into local webs of meaning and value need not be the same everywhere. Technologies and systems will exert a leveling force on local grammars, but this does not mean that a single world-wide hegemonic culture develops automatically. The point here is that theming does not need to demand a unified everyday background, as long as there is some everydayness for the themed place to declare its difference from. The contrast term does not have to be universal or constant.