Amusement Parks, Movies, and American Modernity
Author: Lauren Rabinovitz
Publisher: Columbia University Press
Category: Social Science
View: 7620More than two thousand amusement parks dotted the American landscape in the early twentieth century, thrilling the general public with the latest in entertainment and motion picture technology. Amusement parks were the playgrounds of the working class, combining numerous, mechanically-based spectacles into one unique, modern cultural phenomenon. Lauren Rabinovitz describes the urban modernity engendered by these parks and their media, encouraging ordinary individuals to sense, interpret, and embody a burgeoning national identity. As industrialization, urbanization, and immigration upended society before World War I, amusement parks tempered the shocks of racial, ethnic, and cultural conflict while shrinking the distinctions between gender and class. As she follows the rise of American parks from 1896 to 1918, Rabinovitz seizes on a simultaneous increase in cinema and spectacle audiences and connects both to the success of leisure activities in stabilizing society.