Date of Award

5-2019

Document Type

Thesis open access

Department

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First Advisor

Aaron Delwiche

Abstract

In October 2018, Taylor Swift for the first time explicitly engaged in political dialogue by promoting the Tennessee Democratic Senate and House of Representative candidates, Phil Bredesen and Jim Cooper, in the midterm elections through an Instagram post. In the post, Swift also condemned racial discrimination, gender inequality, and those who look down on homosexuality, and by doing so, inspired 102,000 people under 30 to register to vote via vote.org within 48 hours after the post. This study attempted to provide insight into whether the level of fans’ parasocial interaction with Taylor Swift correlated with their political views by administering a web-based survey, regarding perceptions of Taylor Swift and political views, to 913 respondents. Political party largely acted as the most statistically significant correlation for an how an individual felt about a particular topic, but fan strength did correlate more significantly with believing in homosexual acceptance in society and was the second-most significant correlation relating to the other two topics, belief in the presence of racial discrimination and belief in gender inequality. Gender and age were statistically significant on most issues (excluding age related to gender equality), but did not have large effect sizes. Political party has long been thought to be a significant predictor, so it is not a surprise that such a result occurred here, but fan strength’s significance suggests that Taylor Swift’s influence on individuals may sway their political leanings as well.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 4.0 License.

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