Community Radio in the Everyday Life of a Bratilian Favela
The proposed PhD research project is a study of the everyday use of community radio by residents of one selected favela in Salvador, Brazil. Drawing from ethnographic data, this project aims at exploring residents’ listening experiences of community radio, focusing on how they use and interpret community radio programmes, assessing to what extent these programmes represent a public (social, political or familial) resource for its audiences. My research objective is to identify potential linkages between listening to community radio and residents’ sense of identity and esteem in the favela. In order to draw an accurate picture, the fieldwork will be carried out in one single favela. The spotlight is on the community rather than on the radio stations, on the audiences rather than the producers. The project examines the private and public dimensions of community radio listening, observing its use as a public resource both in the home and on the streets. In the context of 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 essentially individual and domestic. In addition, the study analyses community radio listening both for pleasure and as a space for debate. Do residents look at community radio programmes as a source of entertainment? Does community radio represent a forum in which favelas residents can discuss openly issues that are directly related to their living situation, such as racism, social injustice and violence? I will examine issues of empowerment, identity and self-esteem, evaluating community radio’s ability to address matters that the community identifies as important (e.g. improving their living conditions, health and education).