Aug 11, 2008


I've been pretty occupied in conferences this past month. First, I attended IAMCR in Stockholm where I presented three papers: 1, 2, 3. And last week I presented one paper at AEJMC (Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication) in Chicago.

My paper at the Cultural and Critical Studies Division focused on the inclusion of socio-cultural issues in telenovelas. I used one of my case studies: telenovela Cosita Rica and centered on four of the diverse socio-cultural themes that were present in this telenovela: obsession with beauty, machismo, teen pregnancy and children who live in the streets. (Other topics present in Cosita Rica's storylines were: religion and faith, addictions, unemployment, crime, Venezuela's socio-economic contrasts and Venezuelans' survival strategies).

In this paper, I placed the production, representation, reception and regulation of these four topics vis a vis the Venezuelan context. As an example, here are the slides for the issue of teen pregnancy:

Knowing the author's intention and his use of specific strategies, such as the inclusion of humor, to incite reflection, I analyzed how the audience enjoyed the storylines, but often did not read the message the author intended. In the case of the obsession with beauty and machismo, these are now naturalized as "normal" commonsensical ideas. In the presentation I also highlighted how this case study illustrates the articulations between production, representation, consumption, regulation and identity, suggesting the workings and nature of the links between media, culture and society.

With this conference presentation, the conference "season" comes to an end, and the beginning of the new academic year is just around the corner.


salomon72 said...

it is very interesting blogg during three days I found my self reading and reading about telenovelas I must say,I am 46 year old and man but even that I found telenovelas so fascinating and interesting subject.
In my country (Sweden-stockholm) I can not watch telenovelas only if have satellite But I am watching via internet ,not the same but better not watch at all
I am original not from Sweden I immigrant before 3 years from Israel there we can found tow telenovelas channels so it become easy to choose between variety of telenovelas I have lucky that I speak Spanish it is easy for me to understand and practice the language Spanish not my mother tongue, and when I watching it become like Spanish lessen for me.
I am started watch telenovelas when my mother was sick it was before 9 years and she most of the time seat at home and when I came to visit it was only one option, watch telenovela together with her, slowly slowly the telenovela catch me and more and more I try to reading and understand more about the subject .
Finely I have question to ask you most of telenovelas that I watched specially from Colombia
Sometime we found one actor that play witching or magician sometime women or man, bad or good, it depend what role they play. I believe it is connect to the culture but I need more explanation of this phenomenon.

Many thanks and again it was very interesting reading the blog

Dr. Carolina Acosta-Alzuru said...

Salomon72, thanks for your comment. Your experience with telenovelas is similar to that of many Latin Americans who grew up in households where their mothers and grandmothers watched telenovelas. These shows certainly have many "hooks" to keep us watching.

As for your question, you're right, characters who are close to witchcraft or to the esoteric are frequently present in telenovelas. I think their presence is a reflection of the mix of religious and esoteric beliefs that we see in almost every Latin American country, where Christian faith is usually laced with other beliefs about the role of nature and the dead.

Again, thanks for reading and shareing.