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.
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.
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.
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!