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Mauro Porto


My research explores how the interactions between media and political systems affect processes of democratization, with a focus on Brazil. My Ph.D. dissertation, which resulted in my first book (Televisão e política no Brasil: A Rede Globo e as interpretações da audiencia, E-Papers, 2007), analyzes the reception and impact of television news and telenovelas on viewers’ interpretations of political issues in Brazil. In 2002, I received the Best Doctoral Dissertation Award by the Brazilian Society of Interdisciplinary Communication Studies (INTERCOM). Since then, my research has explored a variety of communication practices and genres, including journalism, television fiction, political advertising, public health campaigns, and social media. My second book (Media power and democratization in Brazil: TV Globo and the dilemmas of political accountability, Routledge, 2012) analyzes the role of TV Globo, Brazil’s largest media conglomerate, in the first two decades of the country’s process of democratization (1985-2006). Based on content analysis of television news and telenovelas, as well as on interviews with key political actors, including four former presidents, the book explores how the interactions between television, democratization, and civil society mobilization have shaped the quality of political accountability in Brazil. My work has appeared in several peer-reviewed journals, including Critical Studies in Media Communication, Journal of Health Communication, Journalism, Media, Culture and Society, Political Communication, and Television and New Media.

Between January 2011 and July 2013, I worked as Program Officer for Media Rights and Access at the Ford Foundation office in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. In that capacity, I oversaw a portfolio of grants that supported civil society groups and other organizations working on media reform and freedom of expression in Brazil.

My current research and book project analyze the role of the media in the process of democratic decay that Brazil has experienced since 2013. More specifically, I look at the role of communication processes in the rise of the far-right, which culminated in the election of President Jair Bolsonaro in 2018. My analysis looks at how a significant middle-class mobilization emerged in opposition to the process of social inclusion that took place in the first decade of the 21st Century, when Brazil experienced a significant decline in poverty and social inequality levels. Based on the analysis of mainstream media representations about race, gender, and class, I argue that stigmatizing representations of groups that had been partially incorporated (the so-called “new middle class”) are central to understand Brazil’s contemporary shift to the right. Such representations have contributed to strengthen middle-class resentment about the process of social inclusion and have fostered the rise of a new conservative movement.


  • B.A., Universidade de Brasília, Communication,1988
  • M.A., Universidade de Brasília, Political Science,1993
  • Ph.D., University of California-San Diego, Communication, 2001

Academic Experience

  • Senior Professor of Practice of Spanish, Tulane University, 2018
  • Professor of Practice, Tulane University, 2006-2018
  • Associate Professor, Tulane University, 2011-
  • Assistant Professor, Tulane University, 2005-2011
  • Visiting Assistant Professor, Tulane University, 2004-2005
  • Visiting Professor, Facultad Latinoamericano de Ciencias Sociales, Guatemala, 2003
  • Professor, Universidade de Brasília, 1993-2004


  • Visiting Researcher Fellowship, Centro de Investigación y Adiestramiento Político Administrativo (CIAPA), San José, Costa Rica, 2008
  • Provost’s Fund for Faculty/Student Engagement, Tulane University, 2006-2007.
  • Summer Fellowship, Dean’s Office, College of the Liberal Arts and Sciences, Tulane University, 2006
  • Vilmar Farias Chair of Latin American Studies, awarded by Facultad Latinoamericana de Ciencias Sociales, Brazil’s Ministry of Education, and Brazil’s Ministry of Science and Technology, 2003
  • Best Doctoral Dissertation, Sociedade Brasileira de Estudos Interdisciplinares da Comunicacao, INTERCOM, 2002


  • Portuguese
  • Spanish

Overseas Experience

  • Brazil

Related Experience

Selected Publications

  • 2015. “Social media and the 2013 protests in Brazil: The contradictory nature of political mobilization in the digital era” With João Brant. In Lina Dencik; Oliver Leistert (eds.). Critical perspectives on social media and protest. Rowman & Littlefield, p
  • 2012. “Media power and democratization in Brazil: TV Globo and the dilemmas of political accountability.” London: Routledge.
  • 2011. “The media and political accountability.” In Corruption and democracy in Brazil: The struggle for accountability. Timothy Power and Matthew M. Taylor, eds. Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press.
  • 2011. “Telenovelas and representations of national identity in Brazil,” Media, Culture and Society. 33 (1): 53-69.
  • 2007. “Televisão e política no Brasil: A Rede Globo e as interpretações da audiência.” Rio de Janeiro: E-Papers.
  • 2007. “Frame diversity and citizen competence: towards a critical approach to news quality.” Critical Studies in Media Communication. 24 (4): 303-321.
  • 2007. “Framing controversies: television and the 2002 presidential election in Brazil.” Political Communication. 24 (1): 19-36.

Recently-Taught Latin American-Related Courses: 

Stone Center Departments

The Stone Center

People Classification


Tulane Affiliation

Core Faculty


Central America