Emotional processes in parasocial relationships: the possibilities of sociological studies


2019, Vol. 3. №3

Emotional processes in parasocial relationships: the possibilities of sociological studies

For citation: Novikov A. S. 2019. “Emotional processes in parasocial relationships: the possibilities of sociological studies”. Siberian Socium, vol. 3, no 3, pp. 65-73. DOI: 10.21684/2587-8484-2019-3-3-65-73

About the author:

Alexey S. Novikov, Cand. Sci. (Philos.), Master of Psychology, Associate Professor, Department of Sociology, Institute of Pedagogy, Psychology and Sociology, Siberian Federal University (Krasnoyarsk, Russian Federation); eLibrary AuthorID, Scopus AuthorID, asnovikov@gmail.com


This paper studies the possibilities of using high-quality sociological methods — focus groups and in-depth interviews — to analyze parasocial relationships. The author relies on the definition of parasocial relations, introduced by the American scientists D. Horton and R.R. Wohl. A secondary analysis of the data of several series of sociological studies conducted in the Siberian Federal District and a number of other regions of Russia served as the empirical base of the work. The concept of parasocial relations complements and expands the widespread notion of social relations, adopted and shared in sociological science. The key feature of parasocial relations in this work is the actual breakdown of social exchange relations, thus, the author attempts to separate the concept of parasocial relations and parasocial interactions. This article analyzes the main features of parasocial relationships, as well as the indices, which allow determining parasocial relationships using high-quality methods of sociological research. One of the key features of parasocial attitudes in the context of the perception of political power is the lack of an exchange component characteristic of the classical concept of social relations. An important feature of the attitude to power as a parasocial attitude is the emotional charge of such behavior, which is a significant motivator of political (including electoral) behavior. The third significant feature that characterizes the discussed relationships and interactions as parasocial is ambivalence, the tradition of which includes a large number of not only sociological, but also psychological and philosophical works. The author of the article substantiates the use of such an extensive layer of sociological material as the study of attitudes to power, as a basis for the study of parasocial relations. The article postulates that emotional processes play a key role in understanding such a class of phenomena as parasocial relationships or parasocial interactions. The author colludes that the further analysis of parasocial relations in various aspects of modern public life is promising.


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