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Amazon Town TV

An Audience Ethnography in Gurupá, Brazil

By Richard Pace and Brian P. Hinote

Publication Year: 2013

This pioneering study examines television’s impact on an Amazonian river town from the first broadcasts in Gurupá, in 1983, to the present.

Published by: University of Texas Press

Series: Joe R. and Teresa Lozano Long Series in Latin American and Latino Art and Culture


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pp. 1-1

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. 2-5


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pp. v-vi

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pp. vii-xiv

Amazon Town TV began in 1983 as I was in the final stages of dissertation research preparation at the University of Florida. I had received funding to conduct a restudy of Gurupá, an Amazonian community studied by my mentor, Charles (Chuck) Wagley, thirty- five years earlier...

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1. Cross-Cultural Television Studies

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pp. 1-26

In the darkness of the Amazon night, afloat on a small tributary of the Amazon River, I sat in the middle of a wooden canoe as it glided gracefully through the blackened waters.1 Moonlight showed the way, but just barely. Despite the tropical humidity the night air felt cool on the skin...

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2. Brazilian Television

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pp. 27-49

In terms of delivering messages to the largest number of people possible, television is by far the most accessible, most widely consumed, and most influential of all the forms of mass media in Brazil. The nation’s largest television network, Globo, has reached over 99 percent of the national territory...

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3. The Setting

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pp. 50-79

Gurupá is the name of a town and its surrounding municipality located on the lower Amazon River in the state of Pará (see Map 3.1 and Figure 3.1). The town and municipality are situated 1° south of the equator, 353 kilometers west of Belém. The municipality of Gurupá encompasses 9,309...

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4. The Arrival of Television

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pp. 80-107

In June 1982 three families in Gurupá had twenty- inch black- and- white television sets in their living rooms. The families purchased the TV sets in the port city of Belém, had them shipped by riverboat to Gurupá, and then connected them to antennas set atop ten- meter towers, complete...

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5. Heeding Interpellation

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pp. 108-149

Since the 1980s the television viewers of Gurupá have been exposed to a steady stream of messages interpellating them to accept and submit to sets of social identities and worldviews presented in programming. As discussed in Chapter 2, the messages call upon viewers to join in national...

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6. Missing, Ignoring, and Resisting Interpellation

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pp. 150-176

As shown in the previous chapter, even the most straightforward heeding of television’s messages can leave room for viewer interpretation. In Gurupá we found that people are apt to indigenize the national and, on occasion, nationalize the local as they accept and integrate televisual messages...

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7. Conclusion

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pp. 177-190

In the preceding chapters we documented the range of changes associated with the introduction of television to the Amazonian community of Gurupá. Employing an ethnographic approach and three surveys spanning a twenty- seven- year period, we analyzed the arrival and subsequent spread...


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pp. 191-194


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pp. 195-206


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pp. 207-210

E-ISBN-13: 9780292745186
E-ISBN-10: 0292745184
Print-ISBN-13: 9780292745179
Print-ISBN-10: 0292745176

Page Count: 224
Illustrations: 24 b&w photos, 1 map, 30 tables
Publication Year: 2013

Series Title: Joe R. and Teresa Lozano Long Series in Latin American and Latino Art and Culture
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OCLC Number: 834500629
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Amazon Town TV

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Ethnology -- Brazil -- Gurupá (Pará).
  • Television and culture -- Brazil -- Gurupá (Pará).
  • Television and families -- Brazil -- Gurupá (Pará).
  • Television in popular culture -- History.
  • Social change -- Brazil -- Gurupá (Pará).
  • Gurupá (Pará, Brazil) -- Social life and customs.
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