Has Harry Potter shaped Millennials’ political views?

In the com box of another post, longtime pub member Red Rocker brought this article to our attention. It’s a very interesting article on how Harry Potter has impacted Millennials’ political and social views, written by Anthony Gierzynski, professor in political science at the University of Vermont and author of Harry Potter and the Millennials.

Read the full article here.

http://www.slate.com/blogs/browbeat/2014/08/19/harry_potter_s_influence_did_the_beloved_j_k_rowling_series_shape_millennials.html

Some excerpts:

I found empirical support for the idea that the Harry Potter series influenced the political values and perspectives of the generation that came of age with these books. Reading the books correlated with greater levels of acceptance for out-groups, higher political tolerance, less predisposition to authoritarianism, greater support for equality, and greater opposition to the use of violence and torture. As Harry Potter fans will have noted, these are major themes repeated throughout the series. These correlations remained significant even when applying more sophisticated statistical analyses—when controlling for, among other things, parental influence.

And

We’re often drawn to stories for reasons that may have nothing to do with our views: the stories’ popularity, attention given to them in the media, critical reviews, special effects, advertising, boredom, inadvertent exposure when we have little choice—the reasons go on. And once we’re immersed in the book, TV program, film or whatever, once we’ve come to identify with certain characters, we are, as communications scholars have demonstrated, likely to internalize the lessons of the narrative, and emulate the qualities of those with whom we identify.

And

   

In addition to Harry Potter, I also have preliminary results from two other recent studies. One, an experiment that found that exposure to different types of science fiction and fantasy villains affected attitudes about criminal justice. And another that found that exposure to Game of Thrones and House of Cards reduced the tendency to believe in a just world.

The article has several links within that are worth pursuing. Lots to discuss.

What do you think? And thanks, Red Rocker!

About Deborah Chan/Arabella

Deborah Chan, previously “Arabella Figg” I read the first three Harry Potter books in 1999 to see what the fuss was about and was hooked. After participating at HogwartsProfessor.com for several years, and then here at the pub, I joined the Blogengamot in 2009. I enjoy discussing and writing about the books I love, and particularly enjoy looking into characters' psychological and emotional motivations. My husband Rick and I live in Spokane, WA, where I’m a columnist for our newspaper, The Spokesman-Review. Our cat Casey Rose is my gravatar. Butterbeers all around!

3 thoughts on “Has Harry Potter shaped Millennials’ political views?

  1. I saw Red Rocker’s comment because I happened to be subscribed to that post. After going to the link and reading the article, I ordered the book Harry Potter and the Millenials by Anthony Gierzynski. Thanks for sharing, Red Rocker and Arabella. I’m happy to hear how Harry Potter has affected the world in such a positive way! I want to learn more.

  2. Spot on. But I think the article misses the larger point by focusing only on those who “came of age” during Harry Potter. Some of us are well past that tender age and the reason Harry Potter has so much appeal to those of us from the 60s and 70s is that it touches all those ideals that made us who we are as middle aged or seniors. I found that it revived my hopes for a better world that had been dormant for the years when I was too busy raising a family to really pay much attention to what was going on in the world farther from my front door.

  3. Eeyore, I think this is spot on. The ideas and philosophies resonated deeply with me, too. Sometimes I think I find more affinity with Milennials than I do with my own generation.

    And phoenixsong98 I’m very interested in this book, too.

    I also agree with the thoughts about fantasy/sf in the third quote and wish that study had been linked. These genres are very based in right/wrong dualities, so I can see that point.

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