This study examines how pop culture fandoms are formed, based on five communications theories: Escapism, Mood Management, Parasocial Relationships, Identification, and Social Capital. The researcher examined the Harry Potter fandom specifically because of its global pervasiveness. Using Q Methodology, 47 respondents fell into one of four categories: Relationship Experts, Happy Introverts, Identifying Isolationists, and Isolated Self-regulators. Relationship Experts like Harry Potter because of parasocial relationships with the characters as well as the story's capacity for escapism, and Happy Introverts focus on liking Harry Potter for their own enjoyment (not that of others) and mood management. Identifying Isolationists like Harry Potter because they identify with the characters and enjoy discussing the books with those around them, while Isolated Self-regulators do not have any parasocial relationships and focus on the books' mood management capacity. It is interesting to note that Escapism played a supporting (but never leading) role in each of these Factors. All respondents agree that Harry Potter has been, and will continue to be, an important part of their lives. It is hoped that this conclusion can form the foundation of future popular culture studies.
College and Department
Fine Arts and Communications; Communications
BYU ScholarsArchive Citation
Phippen, Cindy, "The Chosen One: A Q-Method Analysis of the “Harry Potter” Phenomenon" (2015). Theses and Dissertations. 4445.
Harry Potter, escapism, mood management, parasocial relationships, identification, social capital, fandom