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The next Globo production is a telenovela named “America”. It tells the story of a Brazilian cowboy that comes to the US and triumphs in the rodeo competitions. The main argument is based on a true story and Gloria Perez is once more at the helm, responsible to translate reality into fantasy. This theme presents a different segment of Brazilian society to Brazilians and to the world. An ethnographic study with actual immigrants in the United States and their response to the writer’s exploration of the theme will further elucidate the main questioning of this research. This will also allow for further Internet study. There have been studies pointing to the possibility of conducting ethnographic studies using online communities. Future research might want to explore the different web sites dedicated to the telenovela. Another avenue would be to explore different reactions from the American audience.

The theme of immigration is a controversial one and this telenovela will certainly delve into the legal aspect of foreigners living in this country. The United States is a country of immigrants. There is however a need to further understand the struggles and sacrifices that the immigrant goes through when choosing to live in a different country.

There are some movies about this issue such as “El Norte”, “Mi Familia”, “La Ciudad”, however, the inclusion of this theme in mainstream television programs have yet to be explored with the intension to shed some light into this subject. In Brazil, also a land of immigrants, telenovelas have been used to address this subject. “Terra Nostra” (Our land) and “Esperança” (Hope) tells the story of Italian immigrants to Brazil in the 1900’s. The same author, Benedito Rui Barbosa also told the story of Italian, Portuguese, and Spanish immigrants to Brazil in “Os Imigrantes” (Immigrants). Currently, Telemundo is airing “Anita Non Te Rajes”, which shows the protagonist having legal problems with Immigration and being deported to México. However, in a true melodramatic tradition, her American father recognizes her paternity and she is able to come back. The educative possibilities of telenovelas should not be constrained to homes, but schools should be able to utilize this medium to teach about immigration, race relations, prejudice, and other subjects explored by telenovelas.

One of the problems encountered in the execution and planning of this study is the lack of financial assistance and time constraints. A well-financed study can devote more time and resources to undertake a comparative research between audiences from different parts of the world. Future research may also include mixed methodology with the inclusion of surveys and quantitative analysis. It is important to have a deeper understanding of the different audience responses not only to make the product more marketable in the international arena but also to deliver messages more efficiently.

This research makes an important contribution to the Latin American telenovela audience research through the exploration of a new territory, which is only possible through the medium chosen for the study. The Internet has made it possible to shrink the geographical borders and facilitate the formation of this global community. This new technology brings about new forms of communication that allow the participants to express their concerns in a free forum. In expressing their vision for the future of entertainment-education, Singhal & Rogers (2002) express that it should include not only themes such as peace, conflict mediation, and race relations, but also the utilization of different media, such as the Internet. There are many other possibilities for the use of the Internet. Development communication initiatives by governmental and non-governmental organizations might want to consider the utilization of message boards to further receive and give feed back regarding their projects. Utilizing the message boards to be aware of the concerns of the population, their views and struggles might help counteract the criticism that entertainment-education initiatives are vertical programs that do not involve the population in their decision making process.

The Internet can also serve as a vehicle to share knowledge. In a Freirian perspective, this knowledge should be an exchange, an act of dialogue that the Internet can very well perform. It might be said that the Internet is a medium restricted to the upper classes, requiring computer literacy and online access, which is certainly something to be considered. Taking this into account, organizations should plan for the facilitation of Internet access to the population. Computers and Internet access should be available to community organizations, schools, churches and other segments of society involved in developmental projects. The use of the Internet will also allow for follow up and monitoring of the projects in a long-term basis.



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Acknowledgements / Dedication - Abstract








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