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Popular Perceptions and Political Economy in the Contrived World of Harry Potter

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  • Avichai Snir
  • Daniel Levy

Abstract

Economic organization of the imaginary worlds depicted in popular literary works may be viewed as a mirror to public opinion on the economic organization of life. If a book becomes a bestseller, it is because the book conveys messages, feelings, and events the readers can relate to. In other words, the book's readers identify with the set of norms and rules that govern the development of the plot and the actions of its heroes. Therefore, a bestseller, as a book that successfully relates to readers of its time, can teach us on the norms and believes of its audience. Following this line of thought, we use the method of deconstruction to analyze the highly successful J.K. Rowlings' Harry Potter series. Studying the books within their social context allows us to learn about people's norms and their perceptions of issues, such as the role of government, the structure of financial markets, poverty and inequality, etc. Thus, by looking at the Potterian economy through magnifying glasses, we obtain a perspective on what people might view as an ideal economic structure. Some aspects of this ideal world, we find, are quite different from the real world.

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Paper provided by Department of Economics, Emory University (Atlanta) in its series Emory Economics with number 0528.

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Date of creation: Sep 2005
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Handle: RePEc:emo:wp2003:0528

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Cited by:
  1. Avichai Snir & Daniel Levy, 2007. "Human Capital and Economic Growth in the Potterian Economy," Emory Economics 0702, Department of Economics, Emory University (Atlanta).

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