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Working Through Political Entertainment: How Negative Emotion and Narrative Engagement Encourage Political Discussion Intent in Young Americans

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This study examines how a political entertainment film (Man of the Year) can impact an individual's political discussion intent after the same political topic is made salient in a subsequent news story. In addition, a process of communication
  This article was downloaded by: [University of Wyoming Libriaries]On: 21 July 2011, At: 11:46Publisher: RoutledgeInforma Ltd Registered in England and Wales Registered Number: 1072954 Registeredoffice: Mortimer House, 37-41 Mortimer Street, London W1T 3JH, UK Communication Quarterly Publication details, including instructions for authors andsubscription information: Working Through PoliticalEntertainment: How Negative Emotionand Narrative Engagement EncouragePolitical Discussion Intent in YoungAmericans Kristen D. Landreville a  Kristen D. Landreville (Ph.D., The OhioState University, 2010) is an assistant professor in the Departmentof Communication & Journalism at the University of Wyoming. &Heather L. LaMarre b  Heather L. LaMarre (Ph.D., The Ohio StateUniversity, ) is an assistant professor in the School of Journalism &Mass Communication at the University of Minnesota. a  Department of Communication & Journalism, University ofWyoming b  School of Journalism & Mass Communication, University ofMinnesotaAvailable online: 21 Apr 2011 To cite this article:  Kristen D. Landreville Kristen D. Landreville (Ph.D., The Ohio State University,2010) is an assistant professor in the Department of Communication & Journalism at the Universityof Wyoming. & Heather L. LaMarre Heather L. LaMarre (Ph.D., The Ohio State University, ) isan assistant professor in the School of Journalism & Mass Communication at the University ofMinnesota. (2011): Working Through Political Entertainment: How Negative Emotion and NarrativeEngagement Encourage Political Discussion Intent in Young Americans, Communication Quarterly,59:2, 200-220 To link to this article: PLEASE SCROLL DOWN FOR ARTICLEFull terms and conditions of use:  This article may be used for research, teaching and private study purposes. Anysubstantial or systematic reproduction, re-distribution, re-selling, loan, sub-licensing,systematic supply or distribution in any form to anyone is expressly forbidden.The publisher does not give any warranty express or implied or make any representationthat the contents will be complete or accurate or up to date. The accuracy of anyinstructions, formulae and drug doses should be independently verified with primarysources. The publisher shall not be liable for any loss, actions, claims, proceedings,demand or costs or damages whatsoever or howsoever caused arising directly orindirectly in connection with or arising out of the use of this material.    D  o  w  n   l  o  a   d  e   d   b  y   [   U  n   i  v  e  r  s   i   t  y  o   f   W  y  o  m   i  n  g   L   i   b  r   i  a  r   i  e  s   ]  a   t   1   1  :   4   6   2   1   J  u   l  y   2   0   1   1  Working Through PoliticalEntertainment: How NegativeEmotion and Narrative EngagementEncourage Political Discussion Intentin Young Americans Kristen D. Landreville & Heather L. LaMarre This study examines how a political entertainment film (  Man of the Year ) can impact an individual’s political discussion intent after the same political topic is made salient in a subsequent news story. In addition, a process of communication influence is assessed when the roles of negative emotion and narrative engagement are considered as potential mediators of the relationship between political entertainment film viewing and political discussion intent. Seven hypotheses serve as the foundation for this experimental study,and structural equation modeling was used to test these hypotheses. Results reveal there was no direct influence of political entertainment film viewing on political discussion intent, but there was an indirect effect through negative emotion. Furthermore, narrative engagement emerged as a predictor of political discussion intent and a mediator of the association between negative emotion and political discussion intent.Keywords: Emotion; Engagement; Narrative; Political Communication; Political Discussion; Political Entertainment  Kristen D. Landreville (Ph.D., The Ohio State University, 2010) is an assistant professor in the Department of Communication & Journalism at the University of Wyoming. Heather L. LaMarre (Ph.D., The Ohio StateUniversity, 2009) is an assistant professor in the School of Journalism & Mass Communication at the University of Minnesota. An earlier version of this manuscript was presented at the annual conference of the NationalCommunication Association, Chicago, IL, 2009.  Correspondence  : Kristen D. Landreville, Department of Communication & Journalism, University of Wyoming, 425 Ross Hall, 1000 E. University Ave., Laramie,WY 82070; E-mail: Communication Quarterly Vol. 59, No. 2, April–June 2011, pp. 200–220  ISSN 0146-3373 print/1746-4102 online # 2011 Eastern Communication AssociationDOI: 10.1080/01463373.2011.563441    D  o  w  n   l  o  a   d  e   d   b  y   [   U  n   i  v  e  r  s   i   t  y  o   f   W  y  o  m   i  n  g   L   i   b  r   i  a  r   i  e  s   ]  a   t   1   1  :   4   6   2   1   J  u   l  y   2   0   1   1  For centuries, political discourse has been regarded as essential for a healthy,well-functioning democracy. Political theorists from Aristotle to James Bryce toJu¨rgen Habermas have argued that political discourse is particularly important forpolitical engagement (Price, 1992). Interpersonal political discussion has beenregarded as a central feature of democratic life (e.g., Dewey, 1927; Fishkin, 1992).From formal deliberation, where each contributor is valued equally and the processis fair, public, and with reason (see Burkhalter, Gastil, & Kelshaw, 2002), to more cas-ual forms of political conversation (see Kim, Wyatt, & Katz, 1999; Walsh, 2004;Wyatt, Katz, & Kim, 2000), all types of political discussion are an important areaof study for political communication scholars.In terms of media, political communication scholarship has started to expandbeyond the study of news to include many different types of political entertainmenttelevision, from late-night comedy (e.g., Baumgartner & Morris, 2006; Baym, 2005;Hollander, 2005; Moy, Xenos, & Hess, 2006; Young & Tisinger, 2006) to prime-time dramas (e.g., Holbert et al., 2003). Moreover, the study of political entertainmentfilm in the form of documentary film is becoming a well-structured area of research in the sub-field (e.g., Holbert & Hansen, 2006; Holbert, Hansen, Caplan,& Mortensen, 2006). When taken as a whole, this body of literature demonstratesa reliable influence of this one type of film (i.e., documentary) on a host of demo-cratic outcome variables (e.g., political knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors). How-ever, we know far less about the empirical effects  fictional   political entertainmentfilm. In fact, there has been no empirical research completed to date concerningthe potential democratic outcomes generated by the consumption of political enter-tainment films. This study seeks to fill a void in the literature by examining a fictionalpolitical entertainment film ( Man of the Year  , Produced by J. G. Robinson & D. Robinson; Directed by B. Levinson, 2006) and its impact on political discussionintent. More specifically, the primary research question driving this study is as fol-lows: To what extent does a political entertainment film directly and indirectly influ-ence political discussion intent after exposure to a topic-relevant political news story?In addition to the recent interest in the intersection of entertainment and politicshas been a concerted effort to better understand emotion in the context of politics.Traditionally, cognition, logic, and reason have dominated theory building andempirical research on political discourse as it relates to basic democratic processes(e.g., Arkes, 1993; Hilgard, 1980). Recent political theory consistently and thoroughly debates the role of emotion in politics and communication (e.g., Richards, 2004),extending the ideas from historical political thinkers, such as Artistotle, Plato,Descartes, and Hume, who have considered the role of emotion in persuasion and poli-tics (Marcus, 2000). Studies in political science and communication (e.g., Marcus &  MacKuen, 1993; Marcus, Neuman, & MacKuen, 2000) have argued that negativeemotions (e.g., anger, disgust, fear, and anxiety) about political candidates, the polit-ical environment, or political stimuli in general contribute to higher levels of politicalengagement. Negative emotions are thought to arouse increased interest, attention,and engagement with the relevant political issue at hand. With these perspectiveson emotion in mind, this study investigates how negative emotions contribute to Communication Quarterly   201    D  o  w  n   l  o  a   d  e   d   b  y   [   U  n   i  v  e  r  s   i   t  y  o   f   W  y  o  m   i  n  g   L   i   b  r   i  a  r   i  e  s   ]  a   t   1   1  :   4   6   2   1   J  u   l  y   2   0   1   1  political discussion intent. More specifically, this work examines if negative emotionis a mediator of the relationship between the direct effect of political entertainmentfilm exposure on political discussion intent.This study also looks at narrative engagement in a process of influence leadingfrom the consumption of a politically oriented entertainment film and ending inpolitical discussion intent. Previous research has found that narrative engagementcontributes to higher intensity of transportation, absorption, and immersion in thefilm world (Green & Brock, 2000). At its core, the narrative engagement process isabout forgetting oneself and becoming immersed in the world created for you by the narrative. In the case of viewing a political entertainment film, more narrativeengagement with the film should increase the audience’s intention to discuss politicsafter subsequent exposure to a topic-relevant news story. This is because narrativeengagement is heightened attention, interest, and concern for the topics in the nar-rative. Finally, this work explores another mediation process—the possibility thatnarrative engagement mediates the relationship between political entertainment film,negative emotion, and political discussion intent.This study is a contribution to both political entertainment research and researchat the junction of emotion, narrative engagement, and politics. It sheds light on theextent to which a political entertainment film impacts political discussion intent, aswell as the degree to which negative emotion and narrative engagement encouragepolitical discussion intent and serve as mediators of the film’s direct effect. Experi-mental data are used to investigate these questions. In particular, the influences of negative emotion and narrative engagement on political discussion intent after sub-sequent political news exposure are compared between an audience that viewed apolitical film ( Man of the Year  ) and an audience that viewed a control film ( RV  ,Produced by L. Fisher and D. Wick; Directed by B. Sonnenfeld, 2006). Seven hypoth-eses serve as the foundation for this study, and structural equation modeling (SEM)was used to test these hypotheses. Results are presented in line with the hypothesesand discussion ensues as to the implications of this study’s findings. Political Entertainment and Political Discussion Political discussion can be stimulated by many sources, including media. Lazarsfeld’stwo-step flow suggests that discussion between citizens and their opinion leadersarises from media exposure (see Katz & Lazarsfeld, 1955). For example, news mediause is closely associated with the amount of daily political discussion at general andissue-specific levels (Kim et al., 1999). Furthermore, political discussion is a buildingblock for other democratic outcomes, such as campaign participation, and shouldbeen seen as part of the system of participation itself (McLeod et al., 1999). Inaddition to general informational sources, entertainment media sources can alsoinfluence political discussion. For example, Delli Carpini and Williams (1994) foundthat focus-group participants used both informational and entertainment televisionsources as stimuli for political talk. They argued that television plays a central role 202  K. D. Landreville & H. L. LaMarre     D  o  w  n   l  o  a   d  e   d   b  y   [   U  n   i  v  e  r  s   i   t  y  o   f   W  y  o  m   i  n  g   L   i   b  r   i  a  r   i  e  s   ]  a   t   1   1  :   4   6   2   1   J  u   l  y   2   0   1   1
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