Brazil’s economic growth in the first decade of this century was accompanied by greater visibility of the disadvantaged economic classes in films, in television, and in the press. Even the celebrated telenovelas and TV series began to feature a side of Brazil which, previously, had only been presented in a negative light. This chapter proposes a central question: Could media visibility be masking the complexity of economic class for social structure or class structure in Brazilian society, which, despite recent improvements, is still marked by stark social divides?
Our objective is to approach this issue from a cultural perspective focused on analyzing media representations of underprivileged groups, following Douglas Kellner’s (1995) ideas that suggest a contextualizing account of media cultural artifacts.
The analysis encompasses the audiovisual production as its corpus – telenovela and TV series – from Rede Globo produced from 2002 to 2012. However, bringing to bear complementary data, we reference other genres and formats as well. We argue that, while attention has been paid to the recent contesting of some of the negative stereotypes surrounding the underprivileged classes circulating within the media, they do not do justice to the complexities of social inequality in contemporary Brazil. We show that mainstream media treatments of social inequality focus entirely on showing the lifestyle of the underprivileged “working poor,” while overlooking many other aspects of social inequality and deprivation.
Escosteguy, A.C. and Coutinho, L.L. (2017), "The Rise of The Working Poor within the Brazilian Mediascape: The Mythology of Social Inequality’s Disappearance", Brazil (Studies in Media and Communications, Vol. 13), Emerald Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 37-51. https://doi.org/10.1108/S2050-206020170000013006
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