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The University of Southampton
Economic, Social and Political Sciences

It is not that funny. Critical analysis of racial ideologies embedded in racialized humour discourses on Facebook in Brazil Seminar

Sociology, Social Policy and Criminology
13:00 - 14:00
26 October 2017
University of Southampton Building 58 Room 2097 Southampton SO17 1BJ

For more information regarding this seminar, please email Dr Anita Lavorgna at .

Event details

Abstract Studies reveal that reported cases of racism on Facebook in Brazil have soared from 2,038 cases in 2011 to 11,090 cases in 2014, and this phenomenon has triggered growing concerns among several social actors and the wider Brazilian society as well. Within this context, my PhD research explores the use of Facebook as a powerful platform enabling individuals to disseminate and reinforcing racialized discourses and negative representations of Black Brazilians concealed in disparagement humour posts and their associated thread of comments. The aim of the project is to examine the following questions: a) what discourses are embedded in such jokes; b) what triggers bigotry in the online environment, and c) how counter-racist discourses are constructed and conveyed. To investigate these questions, the study adopted two methodological approaches for data collection: 1) with the support of 130 keywords related to racism in Brazil, an extensive online search for relevant publicly available Facebook pages was performed; 2) a series of interviews during 3 months in 2016 in São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro with different social actors including policymakers, leaders of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and social activists. A sample of the results revealed the following: a) 81% of the victims of online mockery are predominantly middle-class, well-educated Black women aged between 20 to 35 years; b) oftentimes the derogatory humorous posts and their respective thread of associated comments employ strong swear words and rude vocabulary to belittling Black individuals; c) there is a considerable degree of reverberation capacity of the derogatory comments, meaning that any given post can potentially engage users for up to three years after the original publication, like an echo in cyberspace, triggering new derogatory comments and consequently leveraging the harm; and e) Black women are at the forefront of the initiatives challenging these derogatory practices on Facebook.

Speaker information

Luiz Valério P. Trindade ,PhD student, University of Southampton

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