Generation K: mapping the portuguese early 90’s through Kapa magazine

Maria Filomena Barradas*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


This paper is intended as a contribution to the history of Kapa magazine (1990-1993). Edited by Miguel Esteves Cardoso, the brief title of the magazine included a play on words and an editorial program. In Portuguese, the letter “K”, used as symbol and title of the magazine, is pronounced like “capa”, a word that designates either the outside of a book or a magazine, either a cape or a cloak. The popular saying “Quem tem capa sempre escapa” (“Who has a cape always escapes”, our translation), which alludes to success in risky situations, will be appropriate, with slight modification, as the motto and slogan of the magazine – Quem tem K, sempre esk. This suggests that the magazine adopts a certain ethos, guided by an attitude of challenge to the media codes current at the time it was issued. In its first issue editorial, the magazine defined itself as communicative and not as informative. Usually assumed as synonyms, to communicate and to inform reveal different attitudes, as the etymology shows: to communicate is to put in common; to inform is to give form, to mold. Among those who communicate there is equality of status (none of the participants is more important than the others), so communication is guided by solidarity, by sharing and by the establishment of a common ground between all the players involved in it. On the contrary, information reflects an inequality of status and a distance between the producer (who informs) and the consumer (who receives the information). In this sense, we will try to show how throughout its 32 issues, Kapa has been guided by an editorial strategy that sought to forge a community in communication. The canonical news genres are thus unrepresentative and/ or undergo personal approaches; the graphic and visual component plays a central role in the creation and dissemination of a taste and an aesthetic,in which nostalgia is proeminent; leading figures such as Agustina Bessa-Luís, with her short fictions, or Vasco Pulido Valente, with his articles on contemporary Portuguese history write in the magazine; finally, the way blague and humour are disseminated throughout the magazine have contributed to its success and were decisive to make Kapa a cult magazine, as well as a symbol of a generation in the early 90's in Portugal.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication(Trans)forming magazines
Subtitle of host publicationrethinking the medium in the digital age
EditorsCarla Rodrigues Cardoso, Tim Holmes
Place of PublicationNewcastle
PublisherCambridge Scholars Publishing
Number of pages21
ISBN (Print)9781527585669
Publication statusPublished - 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • Kapa magazine
  • Early 90s
  • Portugal
  • Challenge
  • Editorial choices


Dive into the research topics of 'Generation K: mapping the portuguese early 90’s through Kapa magazine'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this