Parasocial Relationship With Harry Potter

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Parasocial Relationships with Harry Potter across cultures What the study is about: The overwhelming success of the Harry Potter franchise suggests that people all around the world were able to relate closely with the character. This study seeks to find out if the parasocial relationship (henceforth known as PSR) between audience and the Harry Potter character (henceforth known as the protagonist) is the same across different cultural backgrounds. It also explores the driving factors that lead to the immense liking of the character. The premise of the research is based on how there exists two kinds of PSR – namely culture-specific PSR and cross-culture PSR. As the names suggest, the former kind of PSR is only prevalent in a particular type…show more content…
These results remain stable when the effect of age is controlled. Digging deeper, a country comparison of the perceived attraction of Harry Potter finds that the character is in general more attractive for fans from collectivistic cultures than for individualistic cultures. It is explained as such: Fans from Mexico (collectivistic culture) hold a significantly higher social attraction than for the German fans, whereas German fans only hold slightly higher task attraction over their Mexican counterpart. It is also found that only marginal cultural differences occurred concerned homophily where collectivists perceive a higher homophily with Harry Potter than individualists do. Nonetheless, this is consistent with the previous hypothesis that a collectivistic culture views harmony and cohesion more importantly. Running a multiple regression model with PSR as the dependent variable, it is found that the perceived attraction of the character is the most important predictor for developing a parasocial relationship, followed by homophily. Using the numbers obtained, the empirical answers to RQ2 and RQ3 is that there is no intercultural difference in the importance of homophily and only a small difference concerning the importance of…show more content…
Intuitively, the researchers claimed that collectivistic cultures tend to give higher ratings per se although they mean only a medium level). This will inevitably lead to a distortion of the results. Thirdly, the researchers made use of Hofstede’s national culture model to classify a country’s level of individualism and collectivism. Hofstede’s study was based on a study of one company (IBM). He surveyed the subsidiaries of the company across countries and generalized their behaviours as representative of the entire country. This, coupled with the use of self-selected participants, might mean that results obtained are questionable and should be used with caution when making any conclusions. Fourthly, the researchers omitted the ‘physical attraction’ factor on the basis that Harry Potter was based on a book and his looks are therefore subjected to the imagination of the readers. Despite acknowledging the role of Daniel Radcliffe as the main character, researchers fail to realize that fans are likely to already see Daniel Radcliffe as the closest proxy to how Harry Potter might look. This is justified by the uproar when a dark-skinned actress was casted as the adult Hermonie Granger in the latest sequel in the Harry Potter series. Essentially, I am of the view that results might change (even drastically) if researchers included
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