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Sex, soap, and society: telenovela noir in Álvaro Uribe's Colombia

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Nick Morgan


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This article explores the phenomenon of the narconovela, a variant of the telenovela which emerged in Colombia in the 2000s, gaining huge audiences and dominating the ratings. Taking as its starting point the seminal work of Jesús Martín-Barbero in the 80s and 90s it examines the critical reaction to these sensationalist crime stories, questioning the common assumption that their popularity confirms a decline in the moral values of the viewing public. Drawing parallels with film noir, it notes how the pleasure taken in viewing melodramatic and dystopian fictions reveals a number of social tensions without implying that what is in any case a highly diverse audience approves of what it sees on screen. Rather, it understands the narconovela as a dramatisation of the darkest aspects of Colombian common sense which is interpreted in different ways by different social subjects. As part of the argument it provides a detailed analysis of Sin tetas no hay paraíso, the series which inaugurated the new subgenre, and concludes with the consideration of two small viewer surveys.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Morgan N

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal of Iberian and Latin American Studies

Year: 2013

Volume: 19

Issue: 1

Pages: 53-76

Print publication date: 18/09/2013

ISSN (print): 1470-1847

ISSN (electronic): 1469-9524

Publisher: Routledge


DOI: 10.1080/14701847.2013.830376


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