Amazon Town TV

[ Latin American Studies ]

Amazon Town TV

An Audience Ethnography in Gurupá, Brazil

By Richard Pace and Brian P. Hinote

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

May 2013


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6 x 9 | 224 pp.

ISBN: 978-0-292-76204-6

In 1983, anthropologist Richard Pace began his fieldwork in the Amazonian community of Gurupá one year after the first few television sets arrived. On a nightly basis, as the community’s electricity was turned on, he observed crowds of people lining up outside open windows or doors of the few homes possessing TV sets, intent on catching a glimpse of this fascinating novelty. Stoic, mute, and completely absorbed, they stood for hours contemplating every message and image presented. So begins the cultural turning point that is the basis of Amazon Town TV, a rich analysis of Gurupá in the decades during and following the spread of television.

Pace worked with sociologist Brian Hinote to explore the sociocultural implications of television’s introduction in this community long isolated by geographic and communication barriers. They explore how viewers change their daily routines to watch the medium; how viewers accept, miss, ignore, negotiate, and resist media messages; and how television’s influence works within the local cultural context to modify social identities, consumption patterns, and worldviews.

  • Preface
  • Chapter 1. Cross-Cultural Television Studies
  • Chapter 2. Brazilian Television
  • Chapter 3. The Setting
  • Chapter 4. The Arrival of Television
  • Chapter 5. Heeding Interpellation
  • Chapter 6. Missing, Ignoring, and Resisting Interpellation
  • Chapter 7. Conclusion
  • Notes
  • References
  • Index

Professor of Anthropology Richard Pace and Assistant Professor of Sociology Brian P. Hinote serve on the faculty of Middle Tennessee State University. Pace is also the author of The Struggle for Amazon Town, and both authors have been widely published in scholarly journals.

"The interdisciplinary aims of Richard Pace and Brian P. Hinote's Amazon Town TV make it a worthwhile venture, perhaps more than the actual scholarship itself, which breaks little new theoretical ground in terms of television studies, but does serve as a fascinating ethnographic study of the potential for television's sociocultural effects in Gurupá, Brazil."
—Clayton Dillard, Lasting Impressions blog

“The best ethnographic case study ever written about television’s reception and impact within a community anywhere in the world.”
—Conrad Kottak, Julian H. Seward Collegiate Professor Emeritus of Anthropology, University of Michigan