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Research Question # 3

How did forum participants express behavior interaction in relation to the Muslim cultural thematic presented by the telenovela “El Clon”?

By definition, the parasocial sub-dimension behavioral interaction is considered when the audiences overtly interact with the characters, or when the audiences talk among themselves about the character, or think about the program when it is over. In the qualitative analysis of the messages in this research, the messages are also categorized as behavioral interaction if they express or reflect the poster behavior besides participating in the forum. Messages that demonstrate behaviors such as posting articles, or reporting buying books, enrolling in classes, etc., are all coded in this category. Taking into account that behavioral interaction might be considered when audiences talk among themselves about a character, or in the case of this study, when they also discuss the telenovela cultural thematic or think about the program when it is over, most of the messages qualify for this classification. The fact that the context in which the study takes place is a message board where participants exchange ideas, opinions, and questions, implies that a behavioral interaction is already taking place. In keeping with the notion that the messages reflect overlapping sub-dimensions, the messages that are classified as behavioral interaction show a strong component of behavior, even though, by definition, all of them would fit into this category. Of the 310 messages analyzed 8% (25) are qualified as demonstrating behavioral interaction.

In the following example, the message writer posts an article in hopes that it would clarify a discussion:

Re: A: Why women convert to Islam
Wow. good question. The thing is female converts to Islam find LIBERATION in the religion, they don't see it as jumping into a religion w/ restrictions. half of the restrictions you see in El Clon by the way is NOT Islam at all. Like the traveling thing doesn't have anything to do w/ Islam.
And there are many female converts, not just a handful.

I'm not a convert, so I can't explain it to you that thoroughly.

BUT Here's an article that a convert wrote: Read it.

When I Covered My Head I Opened My Mind

(by Shariffa Carlo)

The article is not included in this example. However, the message reflects the idea that the writer not only ponders the subject, but also searches and finds an article that helps the discussion since the writer does not feel qualified to answer the question from her own experience. As seen previously, a social learning environment is one where the participants share their stories, even though the post does not share her story, she brings another person’s account to raise consciousness about the issue that is discussed.

The messages are a reflection of the posters’s reaction not only to the telenovela’s characters but also to the discussions of Muslim representation in “El Clon”. In the following article, the poster demonstrates behavioral interaction when calling a friend in an attempt to clarify the depiction of Muslims in the telenovela.

Re: Innacurate dipictions of Muslims en El Clon
That is what occurred with Said and Jade during her Nikah she replied that she would marry him. And this is their third divorce and they were told this would be their final divorce ...so I guess according to what you wrote the program did not do it correctly.

Thanks for the information. I find myself calling my friend (who is Sunni) to ask questions about whether the things that take place are true. I sometimes wondered if the way the women or the religion was portrayed offended some of the Muslim fans of the show. Thanks for enlightening us!!

Take care,


This message also demonstrates the multilayer construct of the model. While it is appreciate the sub-dimension cognitive interaction, the message is expressing reflection about a character’s behavior it is also possible to discern critical involvement, since the writer did not take the novela’s portrayal as representation of truth, but searched for other forms of information to clarify her doubts. However, the act of calling the friend to ask questions about the novela demonstrates self efficacy and empowerment, the writer is able to go a step further than just reflecting about the issue, and searches for a different source of knowledge, which embraces the idea that action and reflection equates praxis.



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Acknowledgements / Dedication - Abstract






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