Global Fusion 2016 / Narcos

Presentación en Global Fusion 2016

Durante la segunda semana de octubre de 2016 se llevó a cabo la conferencia Global Fusion. Esta conferencia, organizada por Temple University, reunió a un interesante grupo de académicos, editores y estudiantes ubicados en el gran campo de la comunicación, y especialmente en los estudios culturales. Aquí se puede consultar el programa del evento.

En esta conferencia presenté un incipiente trabajo sobre la serie Narcos, de Netflix. Espero que el próximo año pueda completar esta investigación y publicarla. Acá el título y el abstract:

Netflix: A Technological Value-Free Television Company?

The Series Narcos as a Case Study

In a recent article in the New York Times, Bill Wasik (Wasik, 2015) coined the term “digital imperialism” for referring to the global expansion of tech companies that claim to be spreading communication structures and services that do not have intrinsic political and cultural values. However, this value-free economic development can be contested. There is evidence that these leading tech companies are spreading technology and services that indeed contain specific political and cultural values. In this sense, this article presents a textual analysis of the series Narcos (Padhila, 2015), one of Netflix’s recent production for Latin America. Netflix is an Internet-based television network that began as “DVD-rental-by-mail firm” in 1997. Since that time, this company has been growing and expanding its scope of action. In 2011, Netflix started offering services in Latin America and the Caribbean and in 2016 released Narcos, the first season of a fiction series composed of ten chapters that narrate the story of Pablo Escobar Gaviria, a drug dealer that created a smuggling route between Colombia and Miami. According to a press release, the producers wanted, “to tell the true story of how cocaine became such a huge problem in the U.S. and Europe, and how it all started in Medellin.” Although Narcos was filmed in Colombia and produced by Latin American filmmakers and actors, this series is a complex media text that conveys political and cultural hegemonic values about the contemporary drug trafficking. Drawing from a theoretical framework that builds upon the concepts of hegemony and ideology in order to explain the power relations included in media texts, this article presents a textual analysis of the script and footage of the opening chapter of Narcos’ first season. The main conclusion of this study is that, despite some multicultural characteristics, Narcos is an audiovisual text that bears a system of meanings and a narration structure that reproduce an uncritical and hegemonic understanding of the origins of drug trafficking and the asymmetrical relations between the United States and Latin America.

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