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Popular cultural production and political action: a study of the use of video by the Indian population of Brazil

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posted on 03.08.2018, 10:35 authored by Silas J. De Paula
The main objective of this thesis is to analyse the use of video and its social function among the Indian tribes in Brazil, and to understand the significance of the videos for non-Indian audiences. To achieve this understanding it was necessary, first, to look at the specific set of practices by means of which symbolic forms are created, circulated and appropriated inside the Indian villages. Second, it was necessary to work among non-Indian people, in different social classes, in order to understand what kind of meaning arises in the audience when they watch the videos. This work begins with a review of previous research about cultural identity, in order to locate theoretically my own study. This is followed by a discussion of the importance of popular cultural mediation for identity formation. It is argued that cultural identity is always manufactured and constructed by social process. As new technologies of communication play a key role in this process, this thesis also contextualizes 'alternative' media work, especially video work done by popular groups in Brazil and other countries. It is argued here, that video is a useful tool in the struggle for survival, ethnically and physically. In this sense, this thesis works with the hypothesis that the Indians show a positive self-presentation throughout the videos that helps to gain support from the new social movements in Brazil. Through audience research, this work explores questions of documentary form as a political tool, i.e. in which way these documentaries affect the viewers perception of the Brazilian Indians' cultural identity and claims.


Brazil, CNPQ.



  • Social Sciences


  • Communication, Media, Social and Policy Studies


© Silas J. de Paula

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This work is made available according to the conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) licence. Full details of this licence are available at:

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A Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy at Loughborough University.