Las Vegas: Utopia of Escape for Everyman

Date of Award

Spring 2014

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



Committee Director

Robert Woitowicz

Committee Member

Linda McGreevy

Committee Member

Tom Chapman


Rising from the surrounding Mojave Desert, Las Vegas has served as an oasis for those seeking an escape from their daily existence since the middle of the 20th century. Each year, over fifty million people visit the city, making it second only to Mecca with the number of travelers it receives. The majority of Americans can recognize the city's silhouette, and one in two has visited Las Vegas, making it the number one destination for American tourists in the United States. Visitors come to Las Vegas for different reasons, but all of them are in search of something different from their day-to-day routines. They are looking for something "better," a utopian environment free of stress and struggle in which the world is full of possibilities all for the taking. What makes Las Vegas different is that unlike a trip to a beach or the mountains, the city truly means to indoctrinate visitors into its experience in order to guarantee they will come back again and again. On the Las Vegas Strip, a person is free to construct his or her own utopia of escape, selecting from an array of resort hotels and casinos with different carefully constructed thematic environments. Returning visitors can choose a whole new experience on subsequent visits, immersing themselves in the reality of a Roman Caesar on one trip and a medieval knight on the next. Only on the Las Vegas Strip can a person visit Paris, Ancient Egypt, the Middle Ages, Rio, Venice, and modern New York City by simply taking a walk down the block, and therein lies the charm and allure of the Las Vegas experience. It is a postmodern world's fair that welcomes every level of society, from fanny packers to high rollers, from swinging singers to nuclear families, from conventioneers to bachelor parties. Las Vegas is a utopia of escape for Everyman.



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