Washington, Jun 16: A political science professor has suggested that 'Harry Potter' series' influence on the Millennial Generation (1982-2002) could extend far beyond the fantasy world of Hogwarts and wizardry.
Anthony Gierzynski's 'Harry Potter and the Millennials: Research Methods and the Politics of the Muggle Generation' shows that readers of the seven-book series and viewers of the movie franchise tend to be more open to diversity; politically tolerant; less authoritarian; less likely to support the use of deadly force or torture; more politically active; and are more likely to have a negative view of the Bush administration.
About 60 percent of those who read all of the books said that they voted for Obama in 2008, and 83 percent of the full-series readers said that they viewed the Bush Administration unfavourably.
Gierzynski and students in his "Film, TV and Public Opinion" course collected qualitative data via interviews, essays and an anonymous survey of 1,100 college students from 2009 to 2011.
An extensive questionnaire determined levels of Harry Potter fandom on a scale of one through five based on a quiz and readership levels.
About 30 percent self-reported as being "very much into Harry Potter" with 35 percent having read all seven books in the series and two-thirds at least some of the books. A total of 45 percent had seen all of the movies and 86 percent at least some of them.
The majority of the 1,100 students who took the survey were the same age as the characters in the series (about 11) when the first book was released in 1997.
Respondents were then asked a series of questions designed to measure the effects of the series' main lessons on readers. To test whether the acceptance of diversity by Harry and his friends mirrored that of readers, for example, respondents were asked how they felt about groups who have been subject to discrimination in the United States including Muslims, African Americans, undocumented immigrants and homosexuals. Respondents were asked to rate their feelings on a four-point "feeling thermometer" with zero being "very cold or unfavourable feeling" and four representing "100 degrees, very warm or favourable feeling."
After adding up each respondent's total feeling scores toward all of the groups and comparing the results to non-fans, Gierzynski found that readers of all the books, as compared to the rest of the sample, evinced statistically significant warmer feelings toward the different groups. (ANI)