Globalization from top and below: (re)framing (brazilian) margins in two north-american documentaries

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Globalization from top and below: (re)framing (brazilian) margins in two north-american documentaries

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Title: Globalization from top and below: (re)framing (brazilian) margins in two north-american documentaries
Author: Biehl, Silvia
Abstract: This dissertation analyzes the configuration of socioeconomic and national margins in two contemporary North-American documentaries entirely filmed in Brazil--Favela Rising (Jeff Zimbalist and Matt Mochary, 2005) and Manda Bala (Jason Kohn, 2008). In an attempt to contribute to the research on the representation of Brazil in foreign films, the investigation draws upon concepts such as globalization (Appadurai, 1996; Jameson, 2003), identity (Min-ha, 1997), and difference (Appadurai, 1996; Bhabha, 1996) to approach the documentaries not as fixed representations of a given reality, but as cultural texts that might or not be articulated through the notion of nation. The hypothesis is that the analyzed documentaries are sites for the configuration of margins and, for that reason, are privileged instances to observe the constitution of identities and differences. The conclusion-reached through individual and comparative analyses-is that the documentaries present very distinct articulations of socioeconomic and national margins. On one hand, Manda Bala, through an argumentative and circular structure, reinforces socioeconomic identities circumscribed by a Brazilian national margin. Besides presenting a totalizing portrayal of Brazil, Manda Bala reproduces a colonial gaze that fixes Brazilian society as cannibal, and reinforces the dominant gaze that it seeks to criticize. On the other hand, Favela Rising, through a mainly narrative structure, moves the gaze of national proportions towards the favela of Vigário Geral, in Rio de Janeiro. Less than creating a micro-portrait of Brazil, Favela Rising suggests the existence of social formations beyond national margins, whose political strength exists in its refusal of the negative difference imposed by socioeconomic margins. Another conclusion is that the documentaries present, in an opposite and complementary manner, contradictory forces at play in globalization.
Description: Dissertação (mestrado) - Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina, Centro de Comunicação e Expressão, Programa de Pós-Graduação em Letras/Inglês e Literatura Correspondente, Florianópolis, 2010
Date: 2010

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