Media Use and Political Engagement: Cross-Cultural Approaches| What Role Does Media Entertainment Play in Emerging Adults’ Political Identity and Engagement Across Cultures?
In light of the controversial relationship and blurred lines between information and entertainment media, the current study’s goal aimed at qualitatively exploring media entertainment’s role in emerging adults’ political identity formation and engagement. By analyzing 55 semistructured interviews from Germany, Croatia, Turkey, South Korea, and the Philippines, we examined how emerging adults in 5 countries—differing in tightness-looseness, political culture, and media freedom—explore alternative political identities (identity exploration) and commit to a set of political values (identity commitment). Across countries, notable similarities supported the notion of traditional and new forms of entertainment as universal drivers of political identity formation and engagement (e.g., informational source, broadening one’s horizon). However, idiosyncrasies of countries reflected unique cultural values, beliefs, and norms, and the benefits of media entertainment pathways to political identity development appeared to depend on political freedom and democracy.