The Old West of Old Town: Understanding Visual Simulacra as a Means of Staged Authenticity
Old Town, Scottsdale, Arizona, is a modern-day old Western town that boldly claims to transport visitors back to the days of cowboys and Indians. Yet, Old Town is a representation of an old Western town that never existed as depicted. By engaging in ethnographic methods of observation and interview, this study analyzes how the visual communication of cultural and historic identities affects visitors' experiences in the area as well as their understanding of the American Old West. It argues that the visual narratives of the space serve as a simulacrum that attracts visitors to the area while simultaneously failing to achieve what it promises.
Document Object Identifier (DOI)
SAGE Publications Inc.
McMullen, M. (2014). The old west of old town: Understanding visual simulacra as a means of staged authenticity. Cultural Studies - Critical Methodologies, 14(3), 260-268. doi:10.1177/1532708614527560