Only For You! Brazilians and the Telenovela Flow is an anthropological study of the reception of a popular and commercial mass-media product – Brazilian "soap-operas," or telenovelas. Telenovelas are broadcast throughout Brazil six days a week, at prime-time. They attract an audience of more than forty million viewers, every day.
Initially, this study began with a simple question: how do viewers engage with telenovelas' representations of the Brazilian society? Ethnographic fieldwork (conducted during several periods between 1995 and 2000, in the state of Minas Gerais, southeastern Brazil) amended and complicated this question. It became clear that in everyday life, outside of the context of immediate telenovela reception, people not only talked about the contents and characters of these programs; they also talked extensively about subjects and products that derived from or somehow entangled with the telenovela plot. The term telenovela flow is used in this study in order to describe and visualize this crucial part of informants’ receptive experience.
The research presented in this study explores the contents of the telenovela flow, tracing and identifying some of its articulations and interspersions, and relating them to contemporary Brazilian society. It also examines the way the telenovela flow hails and interpellates You, the viewer, to interact with it.
It is argued that the telenovela flow presents hierarchies of gender, sexuality, race and class as embodied and naturalized, at the same time that it presents tangible and immediate ways to transcend or at least circumvent those very hierarchies. Viewers, in their engagement with the telenovela flow, evaluate, scrutinize, and search for ways to reinforce or transform their positions as subjects within Brazilian society.
Stockholm: Department of Social Anthropology, Stockholm University , 2003. , 249 p.
2003-06-06, Nordenskiöldsalen, Geovetenskapens hus, Frescati, 10:00 (English)