Qualitative Political Communication| From Wizards and House-Elves to Real-World Issues: Political Talk in Fan Spaces
Political talk enables citizens to form opinions and understand the significance of the political world. Yet young people in particular may find political talk intimidating or divisive, and may require alternative spaces to discuss politics. This article presents an ethnographic examination of political talk within the context of a face-to-face Harry Potter fan discussion group, as a case of a “third space” where shared popular culture interests serve as a starting point for political discussion. The analysis suggests three mechanisms explicating the process through which popular culture contexts can engender political talk: scaling up, broadening the political, and mobilization. Connections between popular culture and political communication are found to be particularly important for the political socialization of young people.