chapter  4
31 Pages

Themed Culture and Themed Environments

ByMark Gottdiener

This chapter aims to emphasize the function of spaces as themed environments and pay special attention to the symbolic devices used to differentiate otherwise similar commercial places from each other. It suggests that although symbols and motifs also were used in the past by commercial establishments, businesses are increasingly housed in built environments completely designed as themed spaces. The use of themed environmental design, however, is so common that even places with limited exterior signification often resort to fully themed decors for their interiors. The marketing of a restaurant as a thematic environment also deploys aspects of merchandising to attract customers. Despite their commercial accomplishments, malls are locked in fierce competition with each other, especially because their customers can commute to a variety of alternatives. Airport authorities and commercial carriers both turned increasingly to the use of themes in promoting their respective services, doing all they could to glamorize flight.