Handbook of Digital Politics
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Handbook of Digital Politics

Edited by Stephen Coleman and Deen Freelon

It would be difficult to imagine how a development as world-changing as the emergence of the Internet could have taken place without having some impact upon the ways in which politics is expressed, conducted, depicted and reflected upon. The Handbook of Digital Politics explores this impact in a series of chapters written by some of the world's leading Internet researchers. This volume is a must-read for students, researchers and practitioners interested in the changing landscape of political communication.
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Chapter 19: Research on the political implications of political entertainment

Michael A. Xenos


This chapter begins with the premise that the contemporary rise of political comedy and political satire may be seen as intimately related to broader patterns of socio-technical change, particularly as they relate to mass communication. After articulating this connection, the growth and development of scholarship on political entertainment is reviewed, with an eye toward classic categories of media effects. Specifically, the review covers research on the effects of political entertainment viewing on learning and knowledge, attitudes and opinions, as well as political behavior and political engagement. Situated within the context of eternal questions concerning the normative implications of observed patterns in communication and its effects for democratic processes, the chapter seeks to provide both a guide to parsing extant findings, as well as reflections on future research in this area. Focusing on the central theme of political entertainment as an integral part of political communication in a digitally networked world, the chapter concludes by identifying ways in which future research in this area may best contribute to the broader body of research on digital politics.

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