Brazil: Volume 13

Cover of Brazil

Media from the Country of the Future


Table of contents

(20 chapters)

Section I Brazilian Television, Cinema, and Media


Cangaço was a form of banditry that occurred in the North-East of Brazil between 1870 and 1940. The movement has inspired many films over the years. This chapter explores the contribution of Cangaço-inspired productions to Brazilian cinema, as well as the particular characteristics of what constitutes the Cangaço genre.

Following a historical survey of the Cangaço, the films were divided into different categories and ranked in terms of relevance. Only the most important are discussed in this chapter.

The Cangaço has been portrayed in Brazilian cinema through the decades in diverse ways, dating back to the 1920s. After becoming a consolidated film genre in the 1950s, then known as Nordestern, the Cangaço finally acquired a proper structure, featuring multiple Western references among its common characteristics. In the 1960s, Glauber Rocha, one of the most prominent filmmakers of the Cinema Novo avant-garde movement, added his own symbolism to the genre. Eventually, the Cangaço was also revisited by directors who combined it with other genres such as comedy, documentary, and erotic films. Another relevant reinterpretation came in the 1990s, when filmmakers of the so-called New Brazilian Cinema offered a new view on the subject.

Despite its strong association with Brazil, the Cangaço has not been thoroughly investigated by researchers. This chapter presents a historical survey and analysis of Cangaço films, highlighting their relevance to Brazilian cinema.


This chapter examines the relationship between news media in Cinema Novo films to underscore the impact of their shared discourse on the history of Brazilian films.

The author discusses the emplotment of news media within representative Cinema Novo films whose narratives speak to an ongoing debate concerning the role of print and televisual journalism in the increasingly repressive political environment of the military dictatorship installed in the 1960s. Interpretations on the level of film narrative, of specific scenes, and of shot and shot-sequencing contribute to the discussion, situated within the broader historical context of the established laws and commissions of 1960s Brazil.

Together, the analyzed films’ various interventions in Brazilian cultural and political history offer a complex representational fabric simultaneously constituting and critiquing national discourse.

The present research is limited to films of the 1960s but has implications for the interpretation of many Brazilian films and for Brazilian film history writ large. The overlap of film and news media is abundantly evident in the films of the Retomada and New Millennial Brazilian Cinema, but they do not fit within the scope of this chapter.

This analysis discusses a major canonical film (Entranced Earth) alongside lesser-known films (Threatened City, Freedom of the Press). When considered together in the light of their shared reflections concerning news media, these films bring up previously underexamined issues within the respective fields of Communication Studies and Brazilian Film Studies.


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.

Section II The Brazilian Media Industry


This article focuses on Brazil’s migration to digital television. It shows how, in the case of Brazil, unicasting solely reflected the interests of commercial broadcasters. Comparing Brazil to France and the United Kingdom, it explains why the European choice for multicasting is one of the reasons for the success of digital television penetration in these two countries.

By analyzing viewing shares and the financial relevance of the public broadcasters, BBC, and France Televisions, to the national broadcasting spaces, the study concludes that these European traditional broadcasters profited from digital television, despite their exposure to a more competitive environment.

As I will discuss, the model chosen in Brazil continues to hamper Public Service Broadcasting (PSB) and national audiovisual industries’ developments, as well as slowing digital take-up. In Brazil, public broadcasting continued to play a marginal role in the national broadcasting space and the audiovisual market, concentrated in a few local companies.

The findings of this comparative study, developed from a political economy perspective, provide important insights into both Brazilian and European telecommunications policy.


This chapter presents an overview of the Brazilian regional media groups that are characterized by cross-ownership of media outlets in the four main reference platforms for news coverage: daily print, radio, broadcast television, and Web.

The research uses institutional documents to explore the history and operating mode of the groups that own the 50 best-selling newspapers in the country. The theoretical approach is guided by the notion of “spatialization” applied to business communication by Vincent Mosco, and by the concepts of “region,” “regionality,” and “regionalization” based upon authors aligned with the critical thinking approach in the field of geography.

The study identifies the multiple geographical scales at which these groups operate, as well as their dominant business models and the sources of their owners’ capital. Based on this analysis, it argues that the variables which are applied to the large-circulation media at a national level cannot be automatically transferred to the regional and local levels.

The study of regional media reveals a landscape that has not received adequate attention from communications researchers worldwide. It also points to problems which deserve more investigation and elaboration. This represents a new challenge for media studies, for the political economy of communication, and for the nascent field of geography of communication.

This chapter provides a distinctive and nuanced approach to the Brazilian media system. It can inspire other studies on regional communication which take into account the specificities of their geographic scales.


This research analyzes how ad formats are incorporated into the structure of radio programming and provides a scheme for classifying advertisements in light of the overall organization of the radio programming schedule.

This chapter consists of three parts. The first part presents the main ad formats aired on the radio. The second discusses the challenges for classifying ad formats based on the characteristics usually employed in most studies. Finally, the third part of the chapter proposes a new taxonomic basis for the classification of radio advertising. Scholars from Spain and the United States provide the theoretical framework that serves as a main foundation for this work. However, Brazilian data forms the empirical basis for the classification of the ad formats in this research.

The approach moves the description of ad formats from an individual definition of each type of announcement – the ad formats – toward a broad analysis of radio advertisements, which groups the set of compositions in ad meta formats. The meta formats are distinguishable by the distribution mode or insertion mode of the ads in the radio programming.

The chapter presents an original taxonomy, which allows the development of a general framework regarding the advertising typology aired on the radio.

Future research could use this taxonomy to attend to the new landscape created by the changing electronic media and its influence on the analog radio programming.

Section III News and Journalism In Brazil


This study based on qualitative data aims to highlight emerging journalistic practices. It analyzes entrepreneurship in Brazilian journalism in order to determine to what extent this development can be regarded as a form of organizational innovation. Over 30 case studies of Brazilian journalistic startups are examined.

The method adopted in this analysis consists of four complementary stages. In the first stage we identify Brazilian media’s political and economic standing and the impacts of digitization on journalism. Then we assess journalistic startup experiences in Brazil through innovation and entrepreneurialism and map the cases. Finally, the fourth and final stage involves interviews of journalists responsible for such startups.

In the past, startups were associated with oppositional forms of journalism aimed at producing alternative views. We find that these startups represent a hybrid of innovation and conservation in news production. On the one hand, they create the potential for journalism’s independence, a crucial asset for the democratic societies utilizing various forms of news production. On the other hand, they remain tied to political and economic interests springing from the neoliberalism that characterize the global media industry.

This chapter focuses on journalistic startups in Brazil and identifies five relevant characteristics of these entrepreneurial organizations. These innovative forms of news production open up spaces for a plurality of social actors and productive sectors. They also offer alternative approaches to covering many relevant issues in Brazilian society, such as legal and judicial topics.


This chapter examines elements of the regulatory framework in effect in the Brazilian Border Region and neighboring countries as they interact with elements of the culture industry. Located in what is referred to as the Southern Arc, the first city we examine, Foz do Iguaçu-PR, lies on the border between Paraguay and Argentina. The second city is Tabatinga-AM, part of the conurbation region made up by a Colombian city and including the Peruvian border, coming to be known as the Northern Arc.

Our research was produced through the triangulation of primary data obtained in two trips into the field, carried out in 2013 and 2014, secondary data (official and semi-official) and academic bibliography.

Although projects relating to border integration, citizenship and economic development do exist, they do not question or challenge a nationalistic and politicized regime of representation portraying border areas primarily as routes for cocaine traffic or home to terrorist cells. The representation regime disseminated by mainstream media thus reduces the rich color and dynamics of the region to impoverished tones of gray recognizable in terms of “the name of the other.”

This chapter provides a relevant contribution to our understanding of communication processes carried out in two different regions of Brazil, both of them located far from the spotlights of mainstream Brazilian media. We employ a theoretical framework that combines geography of communication with perspectives on communication in borderland regions.


The chapter addresses the unique aspects of Brazil’s news agencies and the Brazilian news syndication market. It reveals the pattern of Brazil’s two prevailing business models regarding the wire services industry: that of the State, particularly the federal government, which invested little in a nationwide distributor to peripheral and alternative media; and that of major media conglomerates, which set out their syndication services labeled as “news agencies” in order to multiply profits with no extra labor. In the latter case, an asymmetrical relationship of dependency and circularity ensues between these major conglomerates and regional media groups, who rely on these “news agencies” to perpetuate their dominance in local markets. The chapter also assesses a few causes for this unique model and describes the main players in Brazil’s news agency sector. A concise historical background is presented (Molina, Morais, Saroldi & Moreira) and provides context for the present-day players in the news agency business in Brazil, including the institutional framework they form with their customers, predominantly smaller newspapers. The chapter analyzes attributes of the Brazilian news agency ecology, including the parallel reach of distribution networks belonging to the private and state-owned agencies; the adaptation of conglomerate agencies to challenges entailed by the digital convergence (shrinking newsrooms, multitasking staff); and the prevalence of the interconglomerate model within the Brazilian news syndication industry.


This chapter examines the professional identities of Brazilian journalists. It does so through an analysis of the growing professional autonomy of journalism from 1950 to 1990 through the life stories of 10 intellectual-journalists, individuals whose journalistic activities have crossed over into other intellectual fields.

This study applies a symbolic interactionist framework to understand how these actors managed their reputations and careers within the intellectual world. The narratives were taken from qualitative semi-structured interviews, and supported by additional research such as interviews, biographies, and articles which have been published about their lives.

The life stories were compared to the extensive structural changes affecting the world of journalism and the world of intellectuals in Brazil. This comparison revealed gaps between these two spheres of practice, within which the ambivalent form of journalists’ identities have been constructed.

This chapter offers two contributions to the study of Brazilian journalists. From a theoretical and methodological viewpoint, it advances beyond other studies that focus more on the prevailing representations of journalists’ professional identities and their role in society. From an empirical standpoint, it describes the complex negotiations between the worlds of journalism, culture and politics. This chapter also reexamines the current dominant explanation for the changes in Brazilian journalism. It shows that building careers and new levels of interpersonal cooperation for intellectuals and journalists has been a slow process. Ultimately, this development has left some behind, especially those actors stretched between multiple professional identities such as those who self-identify as intellectual-journalists.

Section IV Social Movements and Protest in Brazil


This chapter aims to investigate the uses and appropriations of mobile digital technologies and networks through an examination of their popular manifestations in Brazil. We take a phenomenologically informed hermeneutics approach to understand the nature of social interactions vis-à-vis mobile digital technologies in daily life. The multimodal strategy explores based on documents and quantitative data published by Brazilian research institutes and the press. In addition, using an autoethnographic approach, the authors’ direct observations also provide a contextual framework. Findings suggest that mobile devices and networks were employed as protest tools for individuals and social groups. This finding suggests the emergence of new forms of social organizations and the appropriation of mobile technology as a tool for citizen empowerment and cyber-activism that takes place both in virtual and physical environments in Brazil. These appropriations had direct implications for political protests and changed how they have been organized in Brazil since then. Mobile technologies have enhanced and multiplied possibilities for social interaction, information sharing, and media broadcasting, allowing for the questioning of traditional media and the content provided by them. This research provides a foundation for future analysis about the appropriation of digital technologies specifically related to their use as civic media that is applicable beyond Brazil, given that these technologies are spread in different contexts and countries.


Looking at a series of recent large street protests in the city of São Paulo, Brazil, the chapter examines the relationship between political action, urban space, and media use. We specifically look at what we are calling media epiphanies, moments in which the public becomes aware of its existence as a mediated public, that is, as a public that is forged through the use of a particular media. We rely on extensive participant observation and interviews for the description of the June 2013 protests and the subsequent massive rallies. We examine the materiality of the employed media and the experience of participants to understand the meaning of the phenomenon, for which we used a combination of Frankfurt and Toronto Schools approach. The strength of the fluid June 2013 protests in São Paulo questioned the political status quo and served as a trampoline for subsequent media demonstrations whose political impact relied as well on traditional cultural forms. The 2016 impeachment House vote, as a true media event, reconstructed, in positive and negative terms, the fractured political dialogue of representation. The concept of media epiphany can be used to assess the strength of demonstrations and the meaning of collective action in general. Identifying these phenomena, we can give focus to empirical research and better examine the complex intersections between forms of communications, physical environments, and the experience of the individual in contemporary cities.


This chapter examines possible relationships between use of social media in online mobilization and mainstream print media coverage during the June 2013 protests in Brazil, a series of demonstrations which happened throughout the country initially around bus ticket prices.

In order to develop the research, we compared news from leading Brazilian newspapers (O Globo, Folha de S. Paulo, Estadão, and O Dia) with the activities of most influential Twitter users in the dissemination of messages about these events in the country during the period from June 01 to 30, 2013. The results show trends in the emerging dynamics of social organization that may indicate the role of old and new media in today’s Brazilian politics.

The research analyzed the extent to which the events occurring on the streets shaped and/or reflected user-generated social media content.


This research makes a fresh contribution by exploring an understudied aspect of the Tropicália movement: visual performance. After offering a historical overview, we examine the movement’s communicative legacy. We contend that, in addition to song’s lyrics and musical symbols, it is vital to consider a third dimension: visual performance.

The addition of the visual allows for a more fundamental understanding of the many complex meanings that the Tropicalistas constructed in their resistance to political oppression, as well as broader cultural mores and expectations.

Our examination of archival performance videos reveals that Tropicalistas employed modes of dress and a specific, intentional orientation toward their listeners as particularly powerful tools of expression. Revealing these two dimensions of Tropicália performance allows us to better understand the importance of performance as a key element of resistance. The Tropicália movement’s performative reconfigurations of self and other became a vital channel through which the Tropicalistas manage to speak truth to power to challenge the oppressive military regime and question assumptions about Brazilian national identity.

Exploring the role of performance as part of the overall meaning of musical expression opens up new vistas of understanding. While relevant to Tropicália as a pivotal and wholly Brazilian artistic movement, the contributions of this study have implications beyond this particular setting. The analytical approach reveals how artistic movements can serve as both the substance and the expression of national being.

Section V Theory: Brazilian Perspectives


This chapter elaborates a phenomenological framework for the concept of “communication” by drawing mainly on the notion “lifeworld,” created by Husserl and developed by Habermas. The concept of “lifeworld” is approached as a communication-grounded idea.

The chapter is a theoretical essay, grounded mainly on bibliographical research. Main sources are the two volumes of Habermas’ The Theory of Communicative Action (Habermas, 1987), seconded by other works by the German philosopher and some commentators as Stein (2004) e Pizzi (2006). The chapter endeavors to show that the phenomenological notion of “lifeworld” might be key to a critical understanding of main constructivist approaches in communication theory. It could be particularly illuminating where the focus is on a “reality,” which results from intersubjective interactions in everyday life. Most communication theories are media-centered, which means that they regard the “media,” both in its technical and institutional aspects as the main focus of the communication process. This chapter argues that the “lifeworld” is a far broader way to understand communication as a form of social interaction, whether mediated by media technologies or not. The chapter discusses the concept of “lifeworld,” framing its relational and communicative aspects as fundamental to the notion of “reality” as an interactive social creation. It also proposes the understanding of “communication” grounded on this phenomenological notion. Finally, it discusses some problems and limits of this approach, offering an alternative approach to conventional communication theory.


The author establishes a point of criticism against various positions regarding technology, especially the proposal of De Kerckhove on the role of social networks in life.

To that end the present text has four sections. The first presents a way to study society from the point of view of its symbolic production, understood as an inseparable whole. Second, this symbolic dimension of all human society, is differentiated in three inseparable components: information, communication, and knowledge. Third, having established these analytical differentiations, the text underlines the importance of the systemic relationship between internal brain and extra-cortical formations or “external” brain, to understand the human complex relations with technology. Finally, the text presents the Cultural Fronts approach as a theoretical and methodological tool for the study of the social production of hegemony and subalternity on scales of everyday life. The methodological fecundity of this category has been proven in a variety of field studies since 1982 and is the basis of the perspective of action research that the author calls “cybercultur@,” understood as the collective development of intelligent self-determination capabilities confronting concrete social problems.


This chapter presents the perspective of the 27-year-old Brazilian research center at the University of São Paulo – School of the Future USP – representing the institution’s views on our hyperconnected contemporary society. The discussion of key concepts, focusing on the Internet of things and big data, grounds the analysis of symptomatic shifts centered on mobility and connectivity. In addition, the manuscript highlights the new roles of actor-network structures in the new economy, emphasizing new literacies and trends in open and coding culture. Authors such as Bruno Latour, Manuel Castells, Luciano Floridi, Paul Gilster, and many others support the approach, which provides a fruitful theoretical framework that will guide the center’s research in the next coming 15 years, and likely influence other research groups studying society and hyperconnection.


The study presents findings obtained through ethnographic field research about the uses and practices of information and communication technologies among tobacco planters living in the region of Vale do Sol–Santa Cruz do Sul. This inquiry aims to better understand both the data and the data-gathering approaches deployed by biographical research based on in-depth and semi-structured interviews.

We deploy the prevailing category of historical conscience by exploring biographical narratives through and with media supplied by the informants. This approach helps us focus on lived experience of time and change.

The informant becomes a narratable self in the very act of speaking about his or her own life, and special attention to the ever-changing conditions of time and space can be essential to better understanding how new media finds new uses and how life coexists these new medias in new ways. We propose here to connect the practical approach of ethnographic research, particularly biographical research, to media usage and appropriation practices. These practices are evident in the social landscape of an ever more technologically colonized region. Our inquiry is guided by the aim to understand how the conscience of a certain people, in a certain space, manifests itself through and with media.

Cover of Brazil
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Book series
Studies in Media and Communications
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Emerald Publishing Limited
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