Project Abstract

Walt Disney Studios has been widely accepted as a moral educator for today’s youth. However, it is a multibillion dollar company in the American capitalist system. Therefore, to understand Disney’s motivations, its role in the capitalist matrix must analyzed. Capitalism is an economic system founded on consumerism, a vehicle through which people escape the hardships of labor. However, to faciliate their escapism through consumerism, people must continue working. Thus, capitalism perpetuates itself. It is unknown whether Disney is motivated primarily by the propagation of consumerism or morality, begging the question, “Do Walt Disney animated films adhere to Marxist delineations that reinforce the capitalist structure?”A Marxist structure most prevalent in Disney movies is that of the family, which Marx defines as the most foundational class distinction. Therefore, this study makes use of a content analysis and thematic analysis to mark the class distinctions in family to determine what ideology Disney’s movies propagate. Markers of class structure are defined by authority and gender and illustrate if the family follows the Marxist definition. After determining whether a familial structure is Marxist, a thematic analysis evaluated how those distinctions correlated with the cycle of escapism, as created through interactions between parent and child. By combining the two methods, results will articulate power relationships within a family and the effect on a child’s future, ultimately showing whether the content is aligned with the Marxist cycle of consumerism through escapism. Evaluating this alignment will give insight on Disney’s motivations in creating content.

Creating Fantasy: An Analysis of the Family Unit in Disney Films