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Title: The land of the telenovela in the age of social media : a study of the Brazilian prime-time soap opera and its online mediations from a social semiotic perspective for the purposes of informing communication theory and critical literacy practices
Author: Paszkiewicz, George
ISNI:       0000 0004 5919 4540
Awarding Body: London Metropolitan University
Current Institution: London Metropolitan University
Date of Award: 2015
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This thesis investigated communicational processes of text interaction between the so called novela das oito (lit. eight o’clock soap opera) or the prime-time Brazilian soap opera – also known as telenovela or simply novela – and different groups of viewers, for the purposes of informing communication theory, on the one hand, and critical literacy practices, on the other. The investigated groups of viewers continually consumed this highly popular genre of serialised fiction, whilst also participating in online communities about novelas from a pioneering social network service called Orkut. Selected social theories of language and communication were used to investigate the primary text genre (i.e. the prime-time Brazilian telenovela) and the context where it originates, in relation the secondary communicational genres (i.e. selected Orkut communities about telenovelas) and the respective context where they emerged out of these intertextual interactions. To conduct this investigation, specific notions of text and genre were established in terms of their affordances and limitations, as discussed in Kress and Van Leeuwen (2001) and in Kress (2003, 2010) with respect to textual modes of representation, and as developed in English (2011) with respect to genre itself. As such, novelas and online discussions about novelas were analysed here in terms of the specific ways in which genre afforded as well as it limited not only the design, the production and the distribution of both primary and secondary texts, but also their reception (i.e. consumption). For this, an adapted version of English’s analytical framework (ibid.) was developed and employed, with these multimodal texts and genres found to be oriented in specific terms with regard to their social aspects (contextually and discursively), on the one hand, and their material aspects (thematically and semiotically), on the other hand. As a result, a detailed understanding was provided, not only in terms of the specific ways in which these popular texts and genres oriented interactions, but also in terms of the specific ways in which these interactions oriented these texts and genres in turn. As these crucial points were carefully laid out, this research was able to suggest that the secondary texts and genres arising in the form of spontaneous interactions with widely popular television programmes, such as novelas, appeared to demonstrate, in practical terms, their potential to foster critical literacy practices – defined here as the progressive ability to interact with and make sense of different texts and contexts, discourses and genres, and their representational modes used through the means of different media. The research is therefore original at two levels. Firstly, by providing a detailed exploration of the prime-time Brazilian telenovela in relation to some dimensions of its reception – at the same time also seen as dimensions of (re)design and (re)production of secondary texts and genres from a multimodal social semiotic perspective – it offers a multidisciplinary approach through an attempt at combining Media and Communications with Applied Language Studies. It is in this sense that the extension and subsequent employment of a multimodal analytical framework inform and contribute to communication theory. Secondly, by considering the implications of this empirical study in terms of how we learn and improve our abilities to communicate more effectively for a multitude of purposes, this research promotes a wider notion of literacy in practical terms. This is also seen as representing an original contribution towards critical approaches to pedagogy in specific terms.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: 300 Social sciences ; 790 Recreational & performing arts