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How Interactions Between Disney and Sports Inform the Disney Narrative

Worlen, Abby
Abstract
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As my Capstone for the University of Wyoming Honors College, I have written a research paper exploring the interconnections between Disney and sports as two dominant aspects of American culture. This project began in a class by Dr. Susan Aronstein on Disney Discourse and evolved into a more in-depth exploration of these interconnections as they pertain to race, class, and the Disney version American Dream. Chapter One of this paper will explore several of the ways that Disney has curated its relationship with American athletics in order to maintain existing structures of power with respect to race and class. Though Disney has made strides towards presenting itself as representative of the universal childhood experience, it utilizes its relationship with sports to enforce systemic issues of race and class that prevent that from being the case. Chapter Two is a close reading of the 1992 film The Mighty Ducks and further exploration of the franchise. It comes to the conclusion that Disney uses its relationship with sports to present a Disney version of the American Dream that advocates for childhood innocence in order to avoid conversations of race and class that accompany the adult world and challenge Disney’s notion that hard work is the only necessary component to achieving success. Though the film acknowledges systemic issues of race and class, in allowing the underprivileged Ducks team to see success over affluent, White opponents, the film dismisses any challenges that could be associated with their marginalizations. The two chapters connect through their assertions that Disney ultimately advocates for the maintenance of existing structures of power in order to market itself to the populations that it can most benefit from through merchandising, film revenue, and other commercial endeavors.
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University of Wyoming. Libraries
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Keywords
Disney , Sports , Athletics , Class , Race , The Walt Disney Company , The Mighty Ducks
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