From Publishers Weekly
In a devastating critique of what he terms the postmodern American city, Hannigan, a sociology professor at the University of Toronto, charts a growing trend: the spreading infrastructure of megaplex cinemas, malls, themed restaurants, casinos, music megastores and other large-scale entertainment complexes. In his skeptical view, such spaces transform the public world into insular commercialized spheres, allowing leisure and conviviality without real social interaction. Hannigan questions the alleged economic benefits these sites hold for local communities, arguing that they threaten the destruction of neighborhoods and local identities while creating a polarized metropolis catering to the overwhelming middle-class desire for predictability and security. He casts a dour eye on the overlap of "eatertainment," "edutainment" and "shopertainment" and examines the alliance of players involved in building the postmodern leisure environment?real estate developers, corporate investors, retail operators and giant entertainment companies such as Disney, Universal, Sony, Warner Bros., Rank and Ogden. Looking back on the "golden age" of popular urban entertainment (1890-1925) when vaudeville halls, baseball stadiums, nightclubs and amusement parks blossomed, Hannigan argues that the captains of leisure maintained tight social control over a public culture that fostered the illusion of a democratic crowd where city dwellers mingled freely, regardless of race, class and gender. His provocative and far-sighted report will engage urban planners and all who care about the fate of U.S. cities. Photos.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.
is a fascinating study of what the author calls urban entertainment destinations....This is a well-researched, interesting book that is another important step in correcting the productivist bias in sociology and other social sciences.The Annals of the American Academy
...collegiate instructors will find Fantasy City
useful classroom fodder for its accessibility to undergraduate students.American Journal of Sociology
Well documented and well writeen, this timely book covers a controversial subject. Recommended for academic libraries and an interested general public SUNY Coll. of Technology
...Hannigan brings a fresh...approach to the issues with his interesting mixture of sociologically-oriented analysis and...righteous indignation....Fantasy City
is a valuable addition to the growing bibliography of studies on the role of entertainment in the modern (and postmodern) city.Demetri Detsaridis, American Studies International
Hannigan has written a clear and thoughtprovoking explanation of the proliferation of giant stadiums, casinos, themed restaurants, megastores, and the like across the urban landscape.ARTS, 3/99