Document Type


Date of Degree

Spring 2010

Degree Name

PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)

Degree In

Communication Studies

First Advisor

Hayes, Joy E

First Committee Member

Havens, Timothy

Second Committee Member

Peters, John D

Third Committee Member

McLeod, Kembrew

Fourth Committee Member

Barbosa, Maria José


In Race Matters: Race, Telenovela Representation, and Discourse in Contemporary Brazil I investigate the primetime telenovela Duas Caras (2008), examining how different factors such as narrative, audience reaction, as well as media criticism and commentary played a dynamic role in creating a meta-discourse about race in contemporary Brazil. In a larger sense, I examine how the social discourse about contemporary race relations and racism in that country were circulated, constructed and reconstructed during the time the program aired. Additionally, I explore the role of the media, particularly the telenovela, in debunking the idea that Brazil is a racial democracy. Secondly, the research incorporates the Brazilian notion that telenovelas are "open texts", meaning they are co-authored by a variety of industrial, creative, cultural and social actors, into a methodological approach that expands the traditional idea of textual analysis. In addition to reading the telenovela text itself, this study investigates the production process, audience responses and broader media coverage. Thus, the public discourse about the telenovelas is a key part of the text itself.


Brazil, race, racism, telenovelas, television, whitening


2, v, 182 pages


Includes bibliographical references (pages 172-182).


Copyright 2010 Samantha Nogueira Joyce

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Communication Commons