The waves of the hills: community and radio in the everyday life of a Brazilian favela

Medrado, A.M.L. 2010. The waves of the hills: community and radio in the everyday life of a Brazilian favela. PhD thesis University of Westminster School of Media, Arts and Design

TitleThe waves of the hills: community and radio in the everyday life of a Brazilian favela
TypePhD thesis
AuthorsMedrado, A.M.L.

This thesis is a study of the everyday listening to community radio by residents of Pau da Lima, a working class neighbourhood with several favela areas, located in Salvador, Brazil. Drawing from ethnographic data, this project aims at exploring residents’ listening experiences of community radio, focusing on how they use community radio programmes, assessing to what extent these programmes represent a public (social, political or familial) resource for its audiences.

In order to privilege depth over breadth, as it is the case with ethnographic work, the fieldwork was carried out in one community: Pau da Lima. The focus has been laid on the community rather than on the radio stations, and on the audiences rather than the producers. This was informed by the recognition that little attention has been devoted to the listening dimension of community radio. Thus, my research offers an important contribution to knowledge by bridging this research gap. In addition, this research brings in a methodological innovation to the study of community radio. Being able to capture the richness of everyday life, it aims at offering a nuanced analysis of the place of community radio in the favela. The thesis explores the private and public dimensions of community radio listening, observing its use as a resource in the homes but also on the streets. In the context of the favelas, community radio programming is widely aired through street loudspeakers, making an interesting case study of radio’s use in public spaces and challenging the well-accepted perspective of the medium as being essentially individual and domestic. The cacophony of the densely populated favela implies that one needs to attend closely to the conditions of reception and, specifically, how listening to radio in this context, needs to be understood as part of a continuous and complex spectrum of auditory culture.

PublisherUniversity of Westminster
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