Communication, City and Tourism: A Study on the Representations of Tourist-related Violence in Mega Events held in Rio de Janeiro

Ricardo Freitas


This article aims to analyze different types of social representations constructed by the media about urban violence, with conclusions and findings serving as resource material for Tourism and Social Communication programs. The analysis will be based on a corpus consisting of media narratives of violence, prioritizing cases of violence against tourists, reported in printed newspapers during the periods of Carnival festivals and New Year’s celebrations in Rio de Janeiro. The city hosts most of the largest scale events in the world. In addition to such events, Rio de Janeiro receives thousands of tourists throughout the year. Nevertheless, the image of a violent and dangerous city is the characteristic most remembered by Brazilian and foreign tourists. Curiously enough, the natural consequent fear does not reduce the importance and splendor of mega events staged in the city. Data for our analysis consists of narratives of violence against tourists featured in two local newspapers, O Globo and Jornal do Brasil, from December 2008 to March 2010. Our goal is to provide a better understanding of the presence of tourism, leisure and violence in the same scenario as well as to make an inventory of the most recurrent elements in media discourse related to such situations. We aim to analyze the differences in the narratives of violence in the above mentioned mega events, at different periods and through the lens of the same media, due to changes in discourse that have been observed since the government of the State of Rio de Janeiro carried out large-scale police interventions in communities where drug dealing sets the local rules. These communities are close to places where large New Year’s celebrations take place, such as the one held on Copacabana Beach.


Keywords: Media; Violence; Tourism; Mega Events

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