The Universal Church of the Kingdom of God in the news: melodrama and factual record

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Abstract

The controversial establishment of the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God in Portugal was the subject of many news reports during the 1990s, in which accusations of serious crimes — from charlatanism to connections to drug trafficking and child abduction — filled the pages of newspapers (G. M. Dias, 2006; R. A. S. Dias, 2016; Farias, 1999; Farias & Santos, 1999; Júnior, 2013; Machado, 2003). Many of these news reports linked the Church with stereotypes about Brazil and Brazilians and referenced Brazilian soap operas, which were quite popular in the country at the time. To observe whether these characteristics have been maintained over the years, the author analysed reports published by the influential newspapers Público and Expresso from the early 21st century (2001 and 2002), in 2010 and 2017, respectively. Inspired by critical discourse analysis and framing analysis, and with the theoretical support of the theory of social representations, such analyses allowed the author to conclude that the characteristics identified in the 1990s remained, although the Church’s media presence has since reduced. In turn, the reference to soap operas manifests in the fabric of journalistic discourse, with a hybridisation formed between the melodramatic and informational genres.

Translated title of the contributionA Igreja Universal do Reino de Deus em notícia: melodrama e registo factual
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)71-92
Number of pages22
JournalComunicação e Sociedade
Volume42
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 16 Dec 2022

Keywords

  • Social representations
  • Journalism
  • Universal Church of the Kingdom of God
  • Melodrama
  • Soap operas

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