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The insertion of social oriented messages in telenovelas is not exclusive to Brazilian television. In 1951, a radio serial program broadcast by the BBC aimed to entertain and promote modern farm practices (Fraser, 1987). Also during the period of 1975-1981, the Mexican network Televisa broadcast six pro-social telenovelas, with subjects varying from adult literacy, family planning, and gender equality, among others (Nariman, 1993). These novelas were the creation of Miguel Sabido, a Mexican producer and scriptwriter who was partially responsible for the development of the entertainment-education strategy. Entertainment-education was initially defined by Singhal & Rogers (1999) as the purposeful planning and use of educational messages in entertainment programming with the goal of entertaining and educating, intended to expand knowledge about an issue, create favorable attitudinal and behavioral changes (Singhal &Rogers, 1999; Singhal, Obregon & Rogers, 1994). Recently, the authors explained that they consider this definition limited, due to the implication of behavior-change in an individual level as the main objective of the entertainment-education strategy. The authors now define entertainment education as “the intentional placement of educational content in entertainment messages” (Singhal& Rogers, 2002). This new definition gives entertainment-education a broader meaning. Even though earlier projects did have the goal to ultimately change behavior on an individual level, the researchers recognized that in many instances, circumstances outside of the control of the individual also play an important role in changing behaviors. Entertainment-education is utilized in different media formats, such as radio, music, and theater, but it had its roots in the analysis of telenovelas.

Miguel Sabido studied the success of a Peruvian telenovela called "Simplemente María" (Simply Mary), broadcasted in 1969. It was shown in many countries with the same result. "Simplemente María" tells the story of a peasant young woman that moves to the big city, falls in love with a rich man and becomes pregnant. As a single mother, María faces many adversities; she is fired from her job as a maid, and finds work as a seamstress. María works during the day and goes to literacy classes at night. Through hard work and her ability with a Singer sewing machine, she is able to climb the social ladder and becomes a famous fashion designer. This novela had great popularity, with strong identification with the main character, mainly among poor, working-class women, who massively enrolled in literacy and sewing programs (Singhal & Rogers, 1999). Stemming from his analysis of this telenovela, Sabido developed the theoretical structure of pro-social novelas, which later became the entertainment-education strategy. Borrowing from various disciplines, Sabido formulated a multidisciplinary and integrated approach to the creation of his entertainment-education soap operas. The theoretical framework was grounded on Albert Bandura's social learning/cognitive theory, which states that individuals learn from observing role models in day-to-day life and also from movies and television. Carl Jung's archetype theory helped build soap opera's representation of myths, as part of the collective unconscious. Sabido created soap characters that could be positive or negative role models. Paul McLean's concept of a triune brain, translated in the realm of entertainment-education soap operas, meant that to reach their goals, soaps should induce cognitive (intellectual), affective (emotional) and animalistic (physical) responses in the audience. Sabido also used Eric Bentley's dramatic theory, which combined elements of five theatre genres: tragedy, comedy, tragicomedy, farce, and melodrama. Sabido also used elements of communication theory as part of his strategy (Singhal & Rogers, 1999).

Miguel Sabido also helped in the elaboration of Hum Log (We People). This was an India television soap opera that had pro-social messages regarding family harmony, the status of women in society, and small family size in India (Svenkerud, Rahoi & Singhal, 1995; Torres, 1994, Nariman, 1993).

Entertainment-education had gained space among development communication organizations, and has been used in different media formats in many developing countries. Population Communications International has produced various health related pro-social soap operas in Africa, Asia and Latin America focusing on family planning, reproductive health and AIDS (Ryerson, 1994). Soul City, a South African project to promote health related issues incorporated a three-month prime time television drama, as part of its strategy (Singhal &Rogers, 1999). In Tanzania, a long running entertainment-education radio soap opera "Twende na Wakati" (Let's Go With the Times), promoted HIV and AIDS prevention (Vaughan et al., 2000). These are some examples that illustrate the use of the entertainment-education strategy to promote social messages. Entertainment-education has been mainly employed to market health related issues such as family planning, HIV prevention, and reproductive health (Waisbord, 2001). It is Singhal & Rogers’ (2002) vision that these messages be broadened to include issues such as peace, conflict mediation, and race relations. They also envision utilizing different media in the entertainment-education strategy such as the Internet, arts and crafts, or other creative endeavors. The telenovela “El Clon” illustrates the possibilities of combining the discussion of issues such as alcoholism and Islamic culture not only in the television soap opera, but also through the Internet forums and web pages.



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