Audience reactions to Hollywood politics

Liesbet Van Zoonen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

56 Citations (Scopus)


In this article I analyse people's reactions to popular American movies and TV series about politics, in order to find out whether and how they use such stories to perform a 'political self'. The material used for this study was selected from the Internet Movie Database and consisted of comments of viewers. The analysis produced four types of performance which show how particular movies and series enable people to think about the dilemmas that politicians and politics face (reflection), criticize or praise politicians for their morals and stories for their ideology (judgement) and express their hopes and ideals (fantasy). In addition, some stories give their viewers the feeling that they have acquired new knowledge about specific elements of politics, which provide them with means to describe what they see as politics (description). In contrast to 'television malaise' perspectives, the results suggest that people 'do' politics in relation to films and series and construct in their reactions a particular and public version of their political selves.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)531-547+665
JournalMedia, Culture and Society
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2007


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