Amazon Town TV : An Audience Ethnography in Gurupa, Brazil
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.