The Promises and Pitfalls of Inspirational Media: What do We Know, and Where do We Go from Here?

Open Access Journal | ISSN: 2183-2439

Editorial | Open Access

The Promises and Pitfalls of Inspirational Media: What do We Know, and Where do We Go from Here?


  • Lena Frischlich Department of Communication, Westphalian Wilhelms-University, Germany / Department of Media and Communication, LMU Munich, Germany
  • Lindsay Hahn Department of Communication, University at Buffalo–State University of New York, USA
  • Diana Rieger Department of Media and Communication, LMU Munich, Germany


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Abstract:  This editorial introduces the thematic issue on inspirational media; including its role in the elicitation of meaning and self-transcendence, audience responses to inspirational narratives, and the potential for inspirational media to be used for manipulative purposes. We first set the stage for the thematic issue by describing an organizing framework by Thrash and Elliot (2003) to study inspiration. We then situate the seven articles published in this thematic issue along the logic of different components of this framework, namely media content capable of invoking transcendence through emotions and excitatory responses, and a motivational impulse to act upon the ideas acquired from content. This thematic issue thereby highlights unique perspectives for understanding media’s ability to serve as the source of inspirationbe it for social benefit or detriment. Finally, we consider directions for future research on inspirational media.

Keywords:  eudaimonic entertainment; inspiration; inspirational media; narratives; manipulation; media; motivation

Published:   6 May 2021


DOI: https://doi.org/10.17645/mac.v9i2.4271


© Lena Frischlich, Lindsay Hahn, Diana Rieger. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.