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DOI, Digital Objetc Identifier 10.4185/RLCS-2019-1381en | ISSN 1138 - 5820 | RLCS, 74-2019 | Audio-visual explanation of the author |

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I Gomes Bassi (2019): “Epistemological path of narratives for peace”. Revista Latina de Comunicación Social, 74, pp. 1235 to 1250
DOI: 10.4185/RLCS-2019-1381en

Epistemological path of narratives for peace

Ingrid Gomes Bassi [CV] oORCID IDhttps://orcid.org/0000-0002-6501-3721
gGoogle Scholar: https://scholar.google.com.br/citations?user=c5FusEUAAAAJ&hl=es Post-doctor in Communication Processes at Universidade Metodista de São Paulo (UMESP), Journalist, Post-graduated in Globalization and Culture at Fundação Escola de Sociologia e Política de São Paulo. Professor at Universidade Federal do Sul e Sudeste do Pará, Brazil. ingrid.bassi@unifesspa.edu.br

Introduction. The paper articulates an epistemological proposal that problematizes the narrative for alterity, through nonviolent and dialogical communication. Method. The methodology for the article is hermeneutical analysis (Thompson, 2011). As the corpus of analysis are analyzed the three mini-documentaries of the company Vivo in Brazil: #Rethink2018: Razan Suliman - Refugees are welcome; #Rethink2018: Giovanna - My body, my rules; and #Rethink2018: Ian - Special talent. Results. The investigation of the research is based on the denaturalization of violence, on the criticism of stereotyped narratives and on the search for the broader performance of complex themes, such as the formation of contemporary subjects. Conclusion. The assertion is made in retrieving the stories by autobiographies, concomitantly with the expectation generated to anchor the narrative meaning in a dialogue with the interlocutor, establishing the epistemological importance of the language and its prospections.

Keywords: Epistemology, Narrative, Peace, Alterity, Dialogue, Nonviolent communication.

Contents. 1. Introduction. 1.1. Cooperation, dialogue, and nonviolent communication. 2. Methodology and methodological strategies. 2.1. Corpus of analysis. 2.2. Socio-cultural context and narrative analysis 3. Results. 3.1. Proposal for peace. 4. Final Considerations. 5. Notes. 6.Bibliographic references.

Translated by Vinicius Honório (Universidade Metodista de São Paulo, Brasil)

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1. Introduction

Reflecting on nonviolence and a path for peace emerges in an organic state of human crisis, from statistics that point to deaths, from homicides that wide open political and social inertia of governments, organizations, and civilians. According to the Atlas of Violence 2018, produced by the Institute for Applied Economic Research (Ipea) and the Brazilian Forum of Public Security (FBSP), Colombia and Brazil, in 2013 [1] respectively showed 31,7% and 28,6% homicides - deaths caused by aggression plus legal intervention per hundred thousand inhabitants. In the Colombian case, in 2000 the rate was higher, specifically 71,4%, and in Brazil 26,7%. (2018, p.16) Both countries are currently leading the indicators of violence and homicides in South America, and in the American continent, they only lose in the rank to El Salvador (34,4%) and Belize (33,2%) - in Central America and the Bahamas, in the Caribbean, with 34,2%. (2018, p.10-13)

Still, in Brazil, the rate of 2016 surpassed 30 deaths per 100 thousand inhabitants, in a total of 62.517 homicides. (2018, p.20) Added to this statistical situation of the homicide data by inhabitants, there is for investigators of the violence theme the history even more perverse, the logic of the naturalization of the violence that symbolically exerts a precise influence in the social relations and in the way society has been related to contemporary subjects.

For Muller (2007), we applaud the one who kills, in a drama style film and even in the children’s drawing version one often sees the murder of the other, of the enemy, of the one that blocks the linear flow of the hero, that is, it normalizes and positively anchors the death of the opponent, in the collective social imagination.

In the philosophical study of nonviolence, Muller highlights two issues of its meaning; the first is the justification of its use, therefore, as a tool, which can be measured, judge they are implemented by the criterion of efficiency. He explains that this cultural connotation shifts its ethical value to its pragmatic value. Such a change evidences its probability of success, and consequently, evaluation of its usefulness. A question that allows violent actions to cease to be an option, to gain the territory of “calculation”. (Muller, 2007, p.82)

The second reality is the construction of a sense of violence to represent a necessary path, until the extirpation of any danger of humanity, that is, until the coming of the future age. For violent action, one assumes that the ends - of the future - justify the means - to sabotage the present.

Thus, the man of violence is lost in the future. Promise justice; promote peace, but always for tomorrow. Day after day he renews the same promise, transferring justice and peace to the next day. And so on until the end of the story. And every day is filled with violence and suffering, destruction and death. The gift of man cannot be considered a simple mean of reaching a future that would be his end: he is by himself his own end. (Muller, 2007, p.83)

As a principle of nonviolent action, Muller emphasizes that this future, as an end, is an abstract political vision, which is based on the defense and security of societies; but that in the search for an alternative to violence, that is, another principle of conscience, nonviolence, must actively fight for the increased aversion to any form of violence. (Havel qtd. in Muller, 2007, p.84)

In this alternative proposal, he clarifies the importance of the attitude of the individuals in relation to the incoherent and unfair presuppositions. In this sense provokes, identifying nonviolence as answer history for the path for peace.
It is from this social justification, that is, that violence has no salutary human purpose, from coexistence to the common good and even civilization, that the present paper presents the central objective in problematizing the three narratives 1) #Rethink2018: Razan Suliman - Refugees are welcome, 2) #Rethink2018: Giovanna - My body, my rules, 3) #Rethink2018: Ian - Special talent, prospecting an epistemology to reflect/indicate a path for peace, in the light of dialogue and alterity. For this articulation the hermeneutical analysis (Thompson, 2011) is used, investigating in the three narratives cited how the biographies and histories are counted and connoted, establishing the dialogue with the subjects involved in the communication. Attempts of communication for peace.

1.1. Cooperation, dialogue, and nonviolent communication

Thinking about a narrative for peace presupposes understanding how societies face their human relations culturally, in front of the social diversities in which we live together. For Richard Sennett (2012), contemporary in this discussion, cooperation is a possible way out. The concept refers to an exchange whose parties benefit them and also completes that the human being cooperates to achieve what it does not usually reach alone. However, cooperating does not necessarily mean practice for the common good. It raises the question of cooperating and competing, for example, competition in the context of economic markets, electoral politics, and diplomatic negotiations. Practices of “us-against-you” cooperation tend to unbalance the practices of cooperation for the common good. (2012, p.15-6)

One of the main problems in the author’s perspective, in the practice of cooperation, is the formation of groups in tribalist cultural logics, for Sennett tribalism “[...] unites solidarity with those who resemble and aggression towards those who are different”. In complex societies such as the current, tribalizing such a cultural difference reduces the singularities and delimits the personal borders of coexistence. (Sennett, 2012, p.14)

Complex societies such as ours depend on the circulation of workers across borders; contain different ethnicities, races, and religions; generate divergent styles of sexual and family life. Trying to delimit all this complexity into a single cultural mold would be repressive, politically, lying about us. The “self” is a mixture of feelings, affinities, and behaviors that rarely fit perfectly; any attempt at tribal unity reduces this personal complexity. (Sennett, 2012, p.14)

In this prognosis brings the construction of the Others and the potentiality to neutralize the whole difference. Context arising from the social relationship itself with the market economy and historical inequality. “One of the results is the weakening of the impulse to cooperate with those who stubbornly remain themselves Others”. (Sennett, 2012, p.19)
This explains the difficulties encountered in cooperative practice. “We are losing the cooperation skills needed to run a complex society”. (Sennett, 2012, p.20) In this sense, the researcher points out the possibility of intense cooperation, in which human skills would be inclined to be dialogical. He understands as dialogical discussion, the importance of the exchange in the listening of the other, there is subliminal learning in this context, more valuable than to be right. In this dialogical discussion, “[...] although the agreement is not reached, in this process of exchange people can become more aware of their own points of view and broaden reciprocal understanding”. (Sennett, 2012, p.32)

In the dialogical process the listener’s role in a discussion requires special observation; suggests more refinement in listening compared to the statements themselves:

Usually, when we talk about communication capabilities, we focus on the best way to expose something clearly, presenting what we think and feel. In fact, skills are needed to do so, but they are declarative in character. Listening well requires another set of skills, the capacity to closely attempt what others say and interpret before responding, giving meaning to gestures and silences as well as statements. Although we may need to restrain ourselves to observe well, the resulting conversation will be enriched, more cooperative, more dialogical. (Sennett, 2012, p.26)

Sennett, citing Michel de Montaigne, explains the focus of dialogue in analyzing issues in all aspects, to visualize the many versions of the question, enabling this reflection in order to make people more calm and objective in their ways of understanding, living together, acting and reacting. (Sennett, 2012, p.332)

He also stresses empathy as a demanding but fundamental practice in the development of a conversation; the listener needs to come out of him or herself to ensure the other’s empathy. Another important characteristic of this process of intense cooperation is the freedom to act. Freedom becomes part of development and experience for cooperation.

With the union of empathy, dialogic paradigm, freedom, and skills, the challenge of intense cooperative practice arises. “The good alternative is a demanding and difficult kind of cooperation; it attempts to bring together people of different or conflicting interests who do not feel good about each other, who are unequal or simply do not understand each other. The challenge is to react to others in their terms. It is the challenge of all conflict management”. (Sennett, 2012, p.16)

Therefore, beyond the ethical question, cooperation for Sennett arises from practical activity, just as it tends to support social groups in tragedies and “misfortunes”. (2012, p.16) And the practice of this kind of cooperation helps people and groups to learn the consequences of their own acts and life experiences. “What we gain from the most demanding types of cooperation is the comprehension of ourselves”. (Sennett, 2012, p.17)

So for Sennett, the practice of intense cooperation requires skill. “Aristotle defined skill as techné, the technique of making something happen, doing good; the Islamic philosopher Ibn Khaldün considered the skill-specific terrain of the craftsmen”. (qtd. in Sennett, 2012, p.17) Sennett suggests that commonly “social skills” can express people skilled at selling things that one does not need, but stresses the existence of social skills required for mediation activity, such as listening carefully - including the environment and other observations -, “[...] act tactfully, find points of convergence and manage disagreement or avoid frustration in a difficult discussion. All these activities have a technical name: they are called ‘dialogical skills’“. (Sennett, 2012, p.17)

In this theory, one must abandon the tone of the human being to be rationally competitive, although it belongs to this markedly competitive culture. From a common exchange of ideas, uncompromised,  to a decisive meeting, the invitation goes on to enable listening, as well as a careful look at the parties, “[...] to abstain from assertiveness is a discipline that opens space for a look at the life of another person, and also so that he or she can look at yours”. (Sennett, 2012, p.37)

As management of current conflicts, even of daily life, in a family, work activities, in relationships, in leisure institutions, Sennett points out the use of conflict agents, the current mediators. However, with or without the presence of this office that requires art, diplomacy, and practice; first people must act actively, “[...] people need to stay connected,” second, they must bring in the baggage diplomatic skills at times when issues arise in complex and difficult decisions. (Sennett, 2012, p.291)

On the way to a narrative for peace, in addition to cooperation and dialogue, there is the use of language and its socio-cultural anchorage. The theorist Marshall Rosenberg indicates a model framework, of how contemporary subjects can express themselves, from a logic that praises nonviolence among those involved in communication, calling it “nonviolent communication” in the acronym: NVC. (2006, p.19) He also problematizes that in this process of the nonviolent expression people listen with more empathy and respect, besides working self-discovered about themselves.

As the NVC replaces our old standards of defense, retreat or attack against judgments and criticisms, we perceive ourselves and others, as well as our intentions and relationships, for a new focus. Resistance, defensive posture, and violent reactions are minimized. When we focus on making clearer what the other is observing, feeling and needing instead of diagnosing and judging, we discover the depth of our own compassion. (Rosenberg, 2006, p.22)

This framework is based on four processes: “1 - observation; 2 - feeling; 3 - needs and 4 - request”. (Rosenberg, 2006, p.25) The first is based on observing what actually happens in a situation, asking for you, what the interlocutors are saying or making it a process enriching or not for the lives related to the situation, including yourself also in the question. For Rosenberg, it is essential to articulate the answer without elaborating judgment or evaluation. (2006, p.25)

Still, in the first step, the author clarifies that it is important to diagnose which one or which feelings were triggered in this observation, such as: feeling hurt, angry, scared, afraid, and humiliated among others. In the logic of the NVC framework, in order to facilitate resolving the emerging conflicts of this observation, it is indicated to express the emotions, once only latent. One must identify them, even if this is a consequence of becoming more vulnerable in the conversion process. Truth in this connection brings the self of the other closer to the context of us. (Rosenberg, 2006, p. 76)

In the next step, Rosenberg’s idea is to recognize “[...] which of our needs are connected to the feelings we identify there”. (Rosenberg, 2006, p.25) That is, an analytical reflection occurs. These feelings are uncovered to begin to point out needs. The author’s attention is that: “What others say and do can be the stimulus, but never the cause of our feelings”. In the idea, you are asked to exercise positively when you reach the negative message, identifying your own feelings and needs, and avoiding the more common logic of blaming yourself and/or blaming the others. The challenge, for Rosenberg, is to approach the feelings of needs, so the other will tend to be more compassionate. (2006, p.95)

In the last part of Rosenberg’s conceptual framework, the request is made, however, in a specific way, in the sense of focusing on the other person what he or she is wanting, clearly and with care for the request to be built based on the enrichment of the lives involved, in a language of “positive actions”. (2006, p.12)

Therefore, when the request is expressed, in this theory and propositional action, the conversations become broadened. Rosenberg explains, for example, in a situation where one wants to know the thoughts of the interlocutor in the conversation: “I would like you to tell me if you foresee that my proposal will succeed and, otherwise, what you think can prevent its success”, instead of the position: “I would like you to tell me what you think of what I just said”. Nonviolent communication specifies the request, thus forwards the thoughts that you would like to know about the other person. (2006, p.115-6)

“The purpose of the NVC is not to change people and their behavior in order to achieve what we want, but to establish relationships based on honesty and empathy that will ultimately meet the needs of all”. (Rosenberg, 2006, p.127). That is why for the author of the NVC, the way in which the request is expressed gains even more attention in the current culture, for many times people associate the precision of the request as a requirement, imposition, and perhaps they link it to punitive lines, and more, people could feel guilty about not following the request. For this, the proposal of the NVC is to leave the interlocutor free, make the request and approach for him or her to attend only if he or she can.

The central objective of the NVC is to untie the communication processes that use judgment, comparison, limitation, and alienate life; moralizing and being able to hurt the interlocutors in the communication. (Rosenberg, 2006, p. 48)
“By showing how we focus on what we really want, instead of what’s wrong with others or ourselves, NVC gives us the tools and understanding we need to create a more peaceful state of mind”. (Rosenberg, 2006, p.246) For the logic of nonviolent communication, the path to a narrative of peace involves observing the context, identifying feelings, connecting those feelings with the needs of those who express themselves and issuing the request through a positive language. The NVC can collaborate as a process of language for the conflictual relations of contemporaneity, in addition to being conceptualized as a way of understanding human beings, as those capable of focusing on collective well-being, as a real and propositive possibility.

2. Methodology and methodological strategies

The theoretical benchmark of dialogue and nonviolent communication contributes to the understanding of hermeneutical analysis. (Thompson, 2011) For John B. Thompson, in Modern Ideology and Culture, there are three main procedures to the methodological benchmark of depth hermeneutics (DH).

The first procedure is the socio-historical analysis that includes: temporal space situations; interaction fields; social institutions; social structure and technical means of transmission. (Thompson, 2011, p.365)

In space-time situations, there are specificities in space and time of action of symbolic forms, analyzed by hermeneutics. Just as there are fields of interaction in which these symbolic forms act. (Thompson, 2011, p.366) In the three mini-documentaries under analysis, temporal space situations can be understood as the cultural, historical and geographic moment in which these media products are produced by the means and received by society.

The moment of production of the #Rethink2018 campaign by the Vivo Company of telephony, internet, and cable TV channels, is a year of incentive to combat sexual harassment suffered by women, in the work environment, and in social relations and practices. This incentive was linked to the related struggles in the international environment, of feminist personalities seeking equal pay and respect in general, accompanied by #MeeToo movement, which also received support from other genres in the fight against harassment. On the other hand, in Brazil and also in other parts of the world, we saw the cultural regression in relation to the prejudice and discrimination of the immigrant, especially in the country the Haitians and Venezuelans, and in Europe, the immigrants coming from the wars of the African, Asian and Middle Eastern continents.

Therefore, the 2017/2018 launch of advertising campaign #Rethink2018, proposing other views on the concept “Live less of the same”, through commercials for open TV and mini-documentaries on Vivo’s YouTube channel, indicated the company’s located action in the historical context of its production and advertising-opinative referral.

These temporal space situations demarcate the fields of interaction (Thompson, 2011, p.366-7) that are singular universes in which the action and positioning of trajectories are observed, whose movement generates some of the relations between people and causes proposals between them. (Thompson, 2011, p.366) The fields of interaction vary from the analyzed world-objects, in the study of the mini-documentaries narratives (#Rethink2018: Razan Suliman - Refugees are welcome, #Rethink2018: Giovanna - My body, my rules, #Rethink2018: Ian - Special talent) stands out the format itself of the analyzed products, which have gained more time in Vivo’s channel on the YouTube platform, compared to the advertising on the open TV. Another field of interaction is the inclusion of real subjects as narrators of their stories, bringing the protagonism of the campaign to the speech of ordinary people in their daily conflicts. The proposal of these fields of interactions in the situations mentioned problematizes the Vivo company position itself on exposed issues, establishing relations of identity with the public empathically involved.

In social institutions, happen what Thompson (2011, p.367) calls “set of rules, resources and relations”, in the case of the analysis of the mini-documentaries, the media agency Y&R [2] that produced the #Rethink2018 campaign works as a group of media production (communication, advertising, information), developing specific practices and actions. Products are defined actions with objectives attentive to the attitudes of the public, moving social relations and their interactions with the products created. Another “resource” of the media agency institution is the impact of thematic agendas that dialogue with the fields of interaction, in this case, the themes-concepts in the campaigns - the concept: “Live less of the same”, of the campaign #Rethink2018. In addition to the attribute “relations” being connected with the cultural communities of experiences that interact with the results of the advertisements.

Another issue that draws attention to social institutions in this analysis is the proposal of the campaign “Live less than the same” to have designed in partnership with the company Google [3], to expose Campaign videos in targets and posts, by crossing data associated with “haters” and “cyberbullying victims” on digital social networks of those who sought out close issues.

In the case of the Y&R agency that produced the mini-documentaries, the application of technology to strengthen superimposed relations, with public and contemporary thematic, was able to provide educational and preventive messages on both refugee cooperation and criticism of the dictatorship of beauty, as well as support with knowledge about the capacity of people with disabilities.

For Marina Daineze, Vivo’s Image and Communication director, #Rethink2018 has led Vivo to take “[...] a leading role to discuss issues that go beyond connection services and technology. We believe that a contemporary brand must accompany and participate in the conversations and discussions that occur in society; this is the way to become a relevant brand and insert into people’s lives”. (qtd. in Alves, 2017)

In this sense, the next item, the social structure tends to establish the most stable principles and foundations of the socio-historical system, such as the consumer culture that contributes to consumers of the symbolic goods of the media campaigns, especially the Campaign #Rethink2018. Although the mini-documentaries present narrative characteristics of deepening on themes and stories that the traditional media agenda does not usually guide, still it concerns products of the advertising campaign, in the three narratives the importance of the connection, of the internet, and of the social networks are verified. Technology as an instrument for the mediation of networked information strengthens and re-signifies consumers, now, in digital consumers and digital influencers for consumption.
While the “technical means of message construction and transmission” are the mediations in which the symbolic forms and information reach the destination for which they were produced. (Thompson, 2011, p.368) Through this description, it was found that, for this study, the technical means of transmission are the three mini-documentaries #Rethink2018. For Thompson, “technical means give symbolic forms certain characteristics, a certain degree of fixity, a certain degree of reproducibility, and a certain possibility of participation for the subjects who employ the environment” (2011, p.368). The mini-documentaries present coherence in the narrative format expressed directly by the actual characters interviewed, as well as unites in the proposal of seeing the socio-cultural circumstances with other glances, besides the presence of Gnarls Barkley’s Crazy song, sung in another version by Alma Thomas, on the common soundtrack of the advertising productions. Another possibility of participation through the publication of the mini-documentaries was the comments on the Vivo channel and digital social networks for the general public. It was verified, for the characters Razan, Giovanna and Ian, their inclusion in social media of interest; such as the United Nations Organization, for Razan, a Syrian refugee in Brazil, as well as participation in media programs, promoting a debate on the themes they problematize in their narratives.

In the second procedure of the hermeneutic analysis happens the formal or discursive analysis that can develop the actions of semiotic analysis, conversation analysis, syntactic analysis, narrative analysis or argumentative analysis. (Thompson, 2011, p.365)

In parallel with this categorization of formal analysis, language is defined in hermeneutics as representing the “relationality of man and world”, that is, the common way in which ideas and ways of thinking are related from verbalized matrices (BASTOS; PORTO, 2015, p.319). Based on this assumption, we have identified the narratives proposed in the three mini-documentaries as objects related to the analysis, thus marking the second step of DH in the definition of narrative analysis (Thompson, 2011, p.373) that one seeks “[...] identify the basic standards, characters, and roles that are common to them”, for Thompson it is important to understand the role in storytelling and its relation to the plot and extra-narrative development. (2011, p.374)

As the third and final moment of the DH occurs Interpretation/Reinterpretation. (Thompson, 2011, p.365) In the interpretation/reinterpretation of DH, the analysis is based on the first two procedures, developing the interpretation and reinterpretation of both results. What implies “[...] a new movement of thought, it proceeds by synthesis, by creative construction of possible meanings”. (2011, p.275) This procedure will be discussed in item 3. Results.

2.1. Corpus of analysis

To walk to the analysis of depth hermeneutics it is essential to describe the content of the mini-documentaries: 1) #Rethink2018: Razan Suliman - Refugees are welcome, 2) #Rethink2018: Giovanna - My body, my rules, 3) #Rethink2018: Ian - Special talent.

#Rethink2018: Razan Suliman - Refugees are welcome

In the first image, there is the standard of the advertising campaign, of characterizing the search sign, Google style, and the expressions are coming up as a response, of the search. In the mini-documentary of Razan Suliman (5m6s), the indicative is: “In my country, you are denied”, with the image of the protagonist dressed in a khaki shirt and light blue hijab with black floral, giving an impulse in the balance, in a park in the background. Subsequently, there is the Vivo logo, “Vivo presents”, and follow the speech of the interview-testimony of Razan, about the conflict of having been labeled a terrorist in Brazil, for wearing Muslim clothing for women.

She begins the narrative by unburdening on the episode in which a man in the street called her “woman of the bomb”, and she in front of the fact, was without reaction. In this part is introduced the text “Finding Razan”, in which the production brings photographs of the destruction of Syria, her country of origin. Razan says she is a refugee from the Syrian war, and that she came to the country in 2014, with her husband and a son. She explains that she decided to leave Syria when a bomb dropped on the school they were in and that they shared a room with another family. At that time, her aunt, uncle, and cousin died. At the moment, pictures of the school where they lived are shown, and how it was after the explosions. In the speech, Razan wears a navy blue and white striped dress over a navy blue long-sleeved blouse and cream-colored hijab, and the frameworks range from a normal angle, American shot, and a close-up shot.

On returning to her testimony, she says she stayed in Lebanon for three months, but her husband could not get a job, so they decide to go to France. But they are denied at the airport because they are Syrians. They go to Brazil, and when they arrive in the country, Razan comments that she was afraid people would not accept them because they were very different. Subsequently, photographs of Razan and her son and Razan and her husband are rescued. Razan comments that her husband worked as a mobile assistant, but he made very little money, sometimes he bought diapers and there was no money left for anything else. At that moment, she described the episode of having gifted with sfihas the neighbor of the building, who was lending her Wi-Fi password to Razan to communicate with her family in Syria. The sfihas were successful and the neighbor helped her in advertising, creating a page on Facebook. Razan gets donations of a freezer and other appliances to produce frozen and thus initiates her gastronomic endeavor with her husband “Razan Arab food”. Following, the photographs of Razan and her husband, Razan and her friends, menu of “Razan Arab food”, Razan and the small son and Razan and family are shown. Between the lines of Razan and the cuts for the photographs, there is the song Crazy.

Upon returning to Razan’s speech, she is smiling, stating that if she did not have a social network in Brazil she would not have been able to conquer her space, her restaurant. She explains, relaxed, that no one else sends her and that she feels very happy that her father is in the moment of producing the mini-documentary watching her balance to the sound of the music, and that at her almost 28 years it had happened only once in her life, in her childhood. She says that her father “smiled too”, and so images are brought in from the production scene, the square, the father embracing someone and the production team moving.

At the end of the production, Razan appears again swaying and happy. Soon after, comes the indicative of search with the same phrase “In my country, you are”, but instead of the expression “denied” it is put “you meant”, staying: “In my country, you are, you meant: accepted, happy, welcome”. The adjectives accepted, happy, and welcome go up one by one until ending in “welcome”. Finishing with the song, the image of Razan in the swing in motion and the phrase: “In my country, you are welcome”.

When finishing, the mini-documentary ends with the phrases of the Campaign, “Live more new looks”, “And less the same opinions”, “#Rethink2018”, “Vivo”. 

#Rethink2018: Giovanna - My body, my rules

In the first image, there is the standard of the advertising campaign, of characterizing the search sign, Google style, and the expressions are coming up as a response, of the search. In the mini-documentary of Giovanna (2m40s), the indicative is: “Photo in a bikini is clueless”, with the image of the protagonist dressed in a black bikini putting the sunglasses on her head, in the sea in the background. Subsequently, there is the logo of Vivo, “Vivo presents”, and follow the speech of the interview-testimony of Giovanna, about the conflict of having been labeled obese and discriminated in childhood and adolescence by colleagues and the school where she studied.

She begins the narrative commenting that she does not wear a swimsuit, likes a bikini, and clothes with more necklines because she likes to show herself. However, she found herself in a dilemma, because at home she used it and felt good, but when she left, no. She saw people’s eyes and “felt like crap”. In this part is introduced a text “Finding Giovanna”, in which the production brings photographs of her in childhood and adolescence, according to Giovanna tells about the discriminatory passages she suffered at this time, especially the episode of school colleagues who developed a page in the old Orkut platform of social network, commenting on the weight and body of Giovanna, such situation unfolded in her exit from the school, by the fact presented by the direction of the school institute to affirm to have no more vacancy in her class. In the lines, Giovanna wears a tank top, black, and the frameworks range from a normal angle, American shot, and close-up shot.

Giovanna continues in the narrative, explaining that it has been many years to deconstruct this affirmation of prejudice and discrimination about her image, and comments on the cultural moment of female empowerment to collaborate in this self-affirmation on the body, beyond the preconceived idealizations. In this act, the mini-documentary introduces again the image of the initial Giovanna, in a bikini receiving brief care of the production, as arranging hair and indicating the position for the videographer. In the image cuts, of the speech of the Giovanna, with the photographs and images of her production, are interspersed with the song Crazy.

In the penultimate part of the mini-documentary, the narrative-testimony of Giovanna, describing her actions today, in relation to the conflict presented, is returned. She comments on erasing and discarding the biased speeches she still receives, explores her cultural outings and achievements of self-empowerment, and ends with her statement about whether she looks beautiful and “hot”. Again Giovanna’s photographs are rescued, according to her lines, now, of her poses with current looks.

At the end of the production, the indicative of search appears again with the same phrase “Photo in a bikini is”, but instead of the expression “clueless” it is put “you meant”, staying: “Photo in a bikini is, you meant: self-esteem, security, confidence”. The adjectives self-esteem, security, and confidence go up one by one until you ending in “confidence”. Finishing with the song, the image of Giovanna in a bikini and the phrase: “Photo in a bikini is confidence”.

When finishing, the mini-documentary ends with the phrases of the Campaign, “Live more new looks”, “And less the same opinions”, “#Rethink2018”, “Vivo”.

#Rethink2018: Ian - Special talent

In the first image, there is the standard of the advertising campaign, of characterizing the search sign, Google style, and the expressions are coming up as a response, of the search. In the mini-documentary of Ian (2m58s), the indicative is: “You have limitations”, with the image of the protagonist Ian dressed as a gymnast, preparing to take a leap, deep in a gym setting. Subsequently, there is the logo of Vivo, “Vivo presents”, and follow the speech of the interview-testimony of Ian, about having Down syndrome and being special.

After the “Finding Ian” sign, Ian’s line focuses on what he likes to practice, such as dance and theater. Throughout his narrative, there are images of him dancing professionally. Ian explains that he has been in the dance group for four years, took his professional portfolio and traveled to Vienna. Intersecting with images of his dance performances, Ian says that “stepping on stage is a door in the world” and that to be famous is a joy, blessing, gratitude. He describes the difference for him between Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp. Facebook and Instagram are to divulge and WhatsApp is to communicate, combine. He says he does not want to create a group among his friends, family, and girlfriend, because it would cause confusion.

The sound of the Crazy song increases and the images of Ian amusing himself in an artistic pre-event environment rotates, and later it is highlighted the photograph of him in a dance presentation.

Ian then recounts the importance of people who do not have Down syndrome to know the reality of those who are Down, says being “love and peace”, and that it is all about respect, declares: “Live normal people, live Down”. The interview frameworks range from a normal angle, American shot, and a close-up shot.

At the end of the production, the indicative of search appears again with the same phrase “You have limitations”, but instead of the expression “limitations” it is put “you meant”, staying: “You have limitations, you meant: talent, potential, future”. The adjectives talent, potential, and future go up one by one until ending in “future”. Finishing with the song, the image of Ian performing an acrobatic leap and the phrase: “You have future”.

When finishing, the mini-documentary ends with the phrases of the Campaign, “Live more new looks”, “And less the same opinions”, “#Rethink2018”, “Vivo”.

2.2. Socio-cultural context and narrative analysis

In the current context of the mediatic processes, there are absences in discussing the different, in addition to simplifications and/or exotic representations. In the research on Islam as the Other, in international journalism, Gomes (2014) emphasizes that the framed difference of Muslim culture in the Estado de S. Paulo and Folha de Sao Paulo newspapers, specifically, problematizes Islam as exotic, homogenizing its discourse in a simplified way, thus, its stereotype as fundamentalist and sometimes terrorist religious culture is potentialized. What is asked of these analytical results is who is interested in these narratives? Who are the favored ones? What can be confirmed is a scenario of violence (Muller, 2007) about the anchoring of this Other-Islam (Gomes, 2014), and the cultural difficulty of understanding it as a dialogic subject (Sennett, 2012) for the construction of nonviolent communication. (Rosenberg, 2006)

In Gomes’s (2014) relation with the themes raised in the mini-documentaries, two close foundations are identified. The first concerns the distance from giving voice to issues involving a certain degree of complexity, such as beauty standards, people with disabilities in the labor market, and cooperation with immigrants and refugees. The second question involves how these topics when scheduled in media processes are exposed in a simplified, and/or exotic, and/or even explored by voices that do not actually represent them. In journalism, they are called primary sources (Lage, 2001, p.4973) those that are intrinsically linked to the fact and/or event and that can express in the first instance the subject to be deepened, as the narratives of the mini-documentaries were approached.

Still in the association of the concept of the Other, of Gomes (2014), the difficulty of observing in Western culture the construction of Others, that is, the estrangement with the different one that emphasizes differences, instead of dialoguing in search of similarities. This reference to Western culture establishes an important presupposition for understanding and reflecting the cultural context of mini-documentaries’ narratives, in the sense of defining them as narratives that tend to break the veiled violence of the cultural process of normalizing the voices and representations of the protagonists-narrators-subjects.

In the mini-documentaries, the narrative contextualization of the conflicts experienced by the protagonists themselves brings depth to the topics addressed, as well as proposes proximity between their social representations with the hybridized identities that are related, such as the Syrian refugee Razan Suliman, with cultures related to hers and with immigrants and other refugees in the country. The case of Giovanna’s narrative representation, with many groups and people who have suffered bullying and/or have had conflicting moments about their physical acceptance. In the example of the artist and dancer Ian, with many disabled subjects or not, they understand the capacity of work and professional success beyond socio-cultural norms.

Another issue that involves the narrative being contextualized by the characters, concerns the affirmation of conflict, suffering, pain, fear, anguish by acceptance, that is, the feelings that involve the conflicts experienced. Razan tells about her initial difficulty with the Brazilian Other, of a culture very different from her own, and continues, by sewing through the narration the moment that through the cooperation of her neighbor and other donors, she glimpses the possibility of setting up a restaurant. Razan exposed her anguish, her initial fear, her confrontation with the new. The narrative of this story is the possibility of understanding a subject also in his or her vulnerabilities, closer to the integral being. Examples, as well, of Giovanna in indicating the episode of her classmates, school and until recently, the sadness in which she felt of seeing other people discriminating her, in relation to her body. From the joy, enthusiasm, and pride that Ian presents in the narrative, explaining about the routine of his work as an artist and professional dancer, and the wisdom he shows by punctuating the so-called “normal” people and with Down syndrome, asking for respect and life to both groups.

The representational violence, commonly seen in the mainstream media, corroborated by the simplification and labeling of the different ones, is reconfigured in these mini-documentaries, by the assertive proposal of more honest narrative representation, that knew how to channel the narrated text to not to frame them as sensational and/or exotic.

The illustrative recoveries of the images and photographs embody the stories and their political-cultural correlations. Razan’s narrative involves parts of the destruction of the war in Syria, as well as the separation of family and friends from the issue of war, immigration and other fatalities. As well, it brings the cooperation of other people, in the solidarity of practical and effective aids. Giovanna brings in her narrative personal exhibitions of photographic archives, which signify to her, in her memories, the memory of the acceptance of her body, against a vast anchorage of the cultural industry of idealization of the female body, ranging from products for hair, clothing, and plastic surgery until other surgical interventions. In Ian’s story, his narrative affirms the ability of people with Down syndrome, his images dancing on stage across the world, in various dance categories, enables his reality as a professional, apart from disability. Other images and photographs problematize Ian’s freedom and independence in relation to third parties, unleashing him from dependence, also commonly associated with Down syndrome.

The choice of the images and photographs and the way their meanings were integrated into the narration indicate a narrative proposal, which includes the story and its oral imbrications, without losing the contextual foundations that connect it as fact/event. Such a construction contributes to the reconstruction of a dialogical narrative since it manages to relate the stories, fragments, and belongings of the subject-object superimposed on the story.

3. Results
3.1. Proposal for peace

In order to prospect the epistemological crossing of narratives for peace, we mean interpreting/reinterpreting (Thompson, 2011, p.365) the functions of dialogue (Sennett, 2012) and nonviolent communication (Rosenberg, 2006) as bridges of this path.

The mini-documentaries present narrative content exposing the conflicts of the characters and how they organized those meanings and, in a certain way, realigned the violence suffered for another experience, not a victim, not violent reactive and not inert.

In the search for dialogue, Sennett (2012) proposes that information must be brought with clarity and in-depth contextualization, especially when the issues demand cultural specificities that may involve tribalisms of identity. The themes raised by the mini-documentaries involve cultural roots of estrangement from the difference, and, therefore, to bring the narratives with an enlightening bias from the point of view of the plot, the character and the effective action of the conflicts faced by the characters, dialogues the protagonists with needy publics of this empathic need.

Nonviolent communication (Rosenberg, 2006, p.48) also occupies essential space in this articulation about the deepening and clarity of the information and messages transmitted. Because from the moment communication happens to the collective good, there is a greater chance of positions for peace, among the interlocutors, in this communicative exchange. In nonviolent communication (Rosenberg, 2006, p.22) it is important that the communicative process is enriching for the lives related to the situation. In the mini-documentaries, the expressed narratives are based on the dynamics of seeing the other, the public, with the care to explain the conflict, by the approach of the feelings and resignified appropriated by the characters, which contributed to position these others as subjects also active and able to the dialogue.

The Y&R Agency’s proposal to produce mini-documentaries, based on listening empathy, collaborates in the formation of “social institutions” (Thompson, 2011, p.367) concerned with media producers who have worked on “dialogic skills” (Sennett, 2012, p.17), finding points of convergence and management of disagreements (Sennett, 2012, p.17), rather than potentiating labeled and violent narratives in the identities highlighted.

Other questions that involve socio-historical analysis are the temporal space situations (Thompson, 2011, p.336) present in the production of the mini-documentaries thematizing expensive communication flows for the cultural and political moment in which the society evidence, from a critical and ethic approach. Transporting to the interaction fields (Thompson, 2011, p.366), as media format and subject speech, respectively, duration of transmission and empowerment of performance - as unique protagonists.

From the problems involving the social structure (Thompson, 2011, p.367) by embracing the positivation of the consumption of technologies, such as the Internet, and the automatic appropriation of cell phones and other mobile devices (Lévy, 1997), the mini-documentaries encourage consumption, but also, corroborate in the potentiality of sharing three different productions with proposals based on stories that value narratives without judgments and, at the same time, position themselves in the consumer market as managers who try to give means of transmission (Thompson, 2011, 368) for the personal complexities of today’s times.

The mini-documentaries presented solutions in how to bring the narratives, because while they did not focus on dichotomized language, from the “us-against-you” bias (Sennett, 2012, p.15-6), they brought balance in narrative tessitura, allowing the other the respect for their singularities, alterity (Arruda, 2002), which is the possibility of the position for peace, of welcoming the other in their differences.

4. Final considerations

“Politics is a battle of ideas; in the course of a healthy debate, we prioritize different goals and the different means of reaching them”. (Obama, 2017) The choice in observing life under the prism of the interlocutors, as active and dialogical subjects, is a necessary way to think about the emerging conflicts of opinion and fundamentalisms. The former President of the United States, Barack Obama, convened Americans, in his farewell address, to share other opinions, which are different, antagonistic. He identified social polarization in categorizing everything and everyone, in a process that verges to the “natural and inevitable” as an emblematic threat to the democratic system, and thus stresses that, in order to strengthen democratic politics, there is the welcome to the contrary. (Obama, 2017)

The welcome to the contrary is imperative to think about contemporary societies. The ethical question and the valuation of human rights, as guiding principles of civilization, are put in check by the various manifestations of hatred, intolerance, discrimination, and current violence. (Bauman & Bordoni, 2014)

Desiring a path of peace, from the present moment forward, is urgent, and the narratives directly impact it. The mediations of the messages, now, with the potentialities of following, sharing, giving likes, arguing, counterarguing, reframe the social and affective dynamics, passing to the subjects to welcome, in what way to welcome and not to welcome.

In the study of this paper, analyzing the three mini-documentaries, it was observed the welcome of themes little explored, such as the professional capacity of people with down syndrome and the positive acceptance of the body by Giovanna, and themes when welcomed, exposed in a simplified way, reinforcing stereotypes, such as the issue of refugees, Arab cultural and immigrants, different from how the narrative of Razan in the mini-documentary was drawn.

The path to a narrative for peace imposes on this narrative performance by subjects that represent it directly, as well as, when appropriate, to insert imagery resources that are coupled to the text narrated in a contextual way and aligned with the belongings of these starred-subjects. In addition to the careful reconstruction of the story, to demarcate in the script of the narrative deepening in the problematizations of greater socio-cultural conflict, especially when the exposed themes are already stereotyped and widely socialized in the communicational processes.

Above all, it was considered as assertive prospecting the sizing of the self-narration from the protagonists of the mini-documentaries, evidencing the possibility of commercial productions and directed to the economic market, with the interface of dialogue and nonviolent communication, equipping the media culture of epistemologies for alterity; besides the productions problematize issues essential for human coexistence in the world of mediations and anchorages.

5. Notes

[1] The data presented were based on reliable categories of inhabitants of the World Health Organization (WHO), classified as "High quality".

[2] The case #Rethink2018 can be found on the Y&R website in Brazil: https://saopaulo.yr.com/work/vivo-visoes-case/. The agency Y&R is conceptualized as "[...] one of the most iconic agencies in the world. We believe in the power of ideas that help to grow and transform our customers' businesses", among the customer portfolio is Banco Santander, Vivo, Telefônica and Honda.

[3] Available at: https://saopaulo.yr.com/work/vivo-visoes-case/. Accessed on: January 21, 2019.

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How to cite this article in bibliographies / References

I Gomes Bassi (2019): “Epistemological path of narratives for peace”. Revista Latina de Comunicación Social, 74, pp. 1235 to 1250
DOI: 10.4185/RLCS-2019-1381en


Paper received on 21 de abril. Accepted on 23 de julio
Publicado el 29 de julio de 2019