On 17th September 2009 at the 2009 Rio International Book Fair there was the book signing of Maços na Gaveta, edited by the historian Beatriz Kushnir. A chapter titled “Campo jornalístico, campo da saúde e racionalidades políticas a partir do estudo de caso de um intelectual-jornalista”* was written by me. In this article I analyse the role of the Brazilian physician Dráuzio Varella by some of his texts as columnist in daily newspaper Folha de São Paulo.
Varella plays the role of doctor and journalist at the same time. He has the right of expression journalistic and is scientifically recognized; he makes use of a not scientific discourse, full of metaphors, certainties and judgments, i.e. scientifically disqualified, but nevertheless statutory. As intelectual-journalist he states certain “establishe rule” and his point of view is radically evolucionist.
Maços na Gaveta assemble analyses of Media and has 15 articles/chapters. It is aimed to turn public some reflections that normally don’t catch the public.
* In English it means “Journalistic field, health field and political rationales through a case study of an intelectual-journalist”
This month Obercom (OBS*) has published my paper called Communication, medicine and evolucionism: case study from Brazilian newspaper. The text is in portuguese, but you can see the abstract in english.
This work discuss about the notion of intellectual-journalist in the scientific field in a case study from Brazilian newspaper. With this concept, Bourdieu refers to the role of critics and evaluators judging cultural products and giving them more or less evidence in mass media communication. However, the term does not seem to be restricted to the field of cultural production and, in Brazil, can be seen also in the biomedical area. In the case under study, Dráuzio Varella plays the role of doctor and journalist at the same time. While doctor-journalist he has the right of expression journalistic and scientifically recognized, and yet he makes use of a not scientific discourse, full of metaphors, certainties and judgments, i.e. scientifically disqualified, but nevertheless statutory. The importance of Varella appeared on my doctoral study about obesity/poverty nexus in the Brazilian newspaper “Folha de São Paulo”. As intellectual-journalist, the doctor ratifies certain ‘established order’: he always speaks in a radically evolucionist point of view. As part of the obesity/poverty, his speech emphasizes the notion of obesity as biological anachronism and leads to naturalization and medicalization of poverty, in that it also points to the concept of social darwinism.
As the twentieth century drew to a close, the connection between hard scientific fact and public policy became increasingly elastic. In part this was possible because of the complacency of the scientific profession; in part because of the lack of good science education among the public; in part, because of the rise of specialized advocacy groups which have been enormously effective in getting publicity and shaping policy; and in great part because of the decline of the media as an independent assessor of fact. The deterioration of the American media is dire loss for our country. When distinguished institutions like the New York Times can no longer differentiate between factual content and editorial opinion, but rather mix both freely on their front page, then who will hold anyone to a higher standard?
In ALIENS CAUSE GLOBAL WARMING, By Michael Crichton [January 17, 2003]; an historical approach detailing how over the last thirty years scientists have begun to intermingle scientific and political claims.
The relationship between journalists ans scientists are not so easy. Besides there’s a confusion about the role of the journalists regarding the scientific information. The media can be very powerful tools to become public some informations, even to the planning of science education. But the role of the journalist is to inform people, not educate them.
Nos encontramos en la sociedad del desconocimiento, marcada por la acumulación de informaciones efímeras y poco importantes que ocupan el lugar de la comunicación pública. Néstor García Canclini
Néstor García Canclini, professor at Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana de México, in his conference at Universidad de Santiago de Compostela. Prime section at the congress I+C Fundacional da Asociación Española de Investigadores en Comunicación.
I’ve been reading the series about Veja writen by the brazilian journalist Luis Nassif. Veja is the biggest information magazine in Brazil and is described by Nassif as the biggest “anti-journalism” phenomena. There are many comments about it but all of them in the internet, none in the big media — regular press and TV channels, for example. The only two media portals in Brazil where we can found articles are Comunique-se and Observatório da Imprensa. It’s a bizarre silence in brazilian media.
I found the interesting Colin Brayton’s blog, an american freelance journalist. He translates and comments the Nassif’s series.
My last article is in Communication Studies, semestrial scientific review of the Beira Interior University (Covilhã, Portugal). Below, the abstract and the link for the complete text in portuguese.
Risk, dispositives of information and the question of government in relation to the health in contemporary societies
This article discusses the current centrality of the concept of risk in contemporary societies, particularly in relation to the government in its relationship to health. The sense of risk that stands out here is an internalized imposition, from which the authorities set discourses, policies and actions on health – particularly informative, which urge people to evaluate their individual risk and, therefore, change their behavior according to the same risk. In this context, we emphasize the importance of the information devices as privileged strategies of government wich is not limited to formal actions and policies of the State, that extends to the initiatives of others such as private companies; representatives of the society; individuals etc.
Monica Carvalho is PhD in Communication and Culture and made her doctoral studies at Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Since May 2008 is researcher at Institute of Bioethics at Portuguese Catholic University, Oporto, Portugal.
We have seen the birth of political mentalities and governmental practices which have served to sharpen and naturalize the divisions between the autonomous and the dependent, the contented and the discontented, the haves and the have-nots. By Nikolas Rose, inPowers of Freedom (1998)