Request catalogue

Living with the Rubbish Queen

Living with the Rubbish Queen

<< back
  View all books
Book cover

Living with the Rubbish Queen

Telenovelas, Culture and Modernity in Brazil

By Thomas Tufte

Publication date: 1999
Total pages: 256
ISBN: 1 86020 541 0
Price: £ 22.50


What role do telenovelas have in the everyday life of their Latin American audiences? Being a Latin American 'sister' to the Anglo-Saxon soap operas, telenovelas' social and cultural impact and significance on society is far more encompassing than that of soap operas. Screened six days a week, each for six to seven consecutive months' telenovelas are the most watched TV programmes in Latin America, creating empty streets whilst more than 50 per cent of the population gather round the TV set at peak periods.
Telenovelas offer grand melodramatic narratives telling Cinderella-like tales many times over. Telenovelas present a fascinating cultural phenomena which articulates massive emotional outpourings and stimulates national unity and political and civic action. They are also big business. The strong and competetive culture industries of Latin America are not better exemplified than by Brazil's Rede Globo which alone has exported TV fiction to more than 130 countries in the world.
What are the explanations for the cultural and commercial success of the telnovela? What meanings, identities and social actions are articulated through watching telenovelas? How do the audiences ­ often first and second generation migrants in the huge cities of Latin America ­ use telenovelas in coping with urban life and modernity?
In Living with the Rubbish Queen: Telenovelas, Culture and Modernity in Brazil Thomas Tufte seeks answers to these and other questions and he situates this study within the theoretical framework of media ethnography ­ in doing so he draws heavily on Latin American cultural theory which is virtually unknown to the English-speaking world. This case study consists of an analysis of the historical matrices of the telenovela, a production analysis, an institutional analysis and finally provides a range of 'telenovela interviews' with low-income urban women. The resultant analysis thereby seeks to integrate political economy, cultural productivity and the everyday use of the fictional approaches to television in order to bridge some of the historical gaps between classic positions in media and cultural studies.


Dr Thomas Tufte is an Associate Research Professor in the Department of Film and Media Studies, University of Copenhagen, Denmark.

Back to top