THE RIO
CARNIVAL
Meri and Becca
Brief History of Rio
Carnival

 A world famous festival held before Lent every year
 Dates back to 1723
 2 million people take to the streets each day
 Rio Carnival is filled with revellers, floats and
adornments from numerous samba schools located
in Rio
 Samba School – composed of a collaboration of local
neighbours that want to attend carnival together,
they have some kind of regional, geographic
common background
Carnival as a Mega
Event

 Carnival is the epitome of a mega event
 Rio Carnival is a globally recognised personality
 Extreme media exposure, appeals to the masses
 Generates significant economic, political, social and
cultural capital
 Brazil basically stops for
almost a week and festivities
are intense day and night!
Carnival in Context

 Pre modern – built around tradition, myth, rituals and seasons
 Modern - rationalises spaces (Sambadrome) and have become
industrial
 Post modern – commodified – market values for signs and
symbols
 - celebritised and disneyfied – altogether voyeuristic
 - carnival has become meaningless
 - very controlled event – but comes across at chaotic
Identities at the Carnival

 Local identity – design in performance of carnival
 National identity – reflective of national views
 International/global identity – impressions we expect to
see are played out through the media around the world –
usually overindulgent and libidinous
 Global identity – carnival has significance to so many
nations and has developed a global personality
 Heritage – African and European influences in Samba
 Carnivalesque – increasingly standardised around the
world
Gendered Idenites

 Rio Carnival is a very gendered event!
 Parade is predominantly women
 Objectification of women?
Brazilian Identity

 Success of event has put Rio on the map
 Reinforces Brazilian culture – music and dance
 Commodification of culture...
Spectacle

 Media spectacle (Kellner) and interest has helped create the
spectacle seen at the Rio Carnival
 Reinforces global spectacle – consumed around the world as
well as in Rio de Janiero
 Carnival is passively consumed spectacle for some
 carnival can oppose the spectacle (DeBord, 1967) – political
elements
Social, economic and
cultural impacts

 An event this large has many impacts on the host city.
 Economic – millions for city, but where does this money go?
Slums
 Social – in Brazil, carnival focused on the lower classes but now
the upper classes participate with tickets in the sambadrome
costing up to $500 each, this is also littered with celebs – brings
communities together to put shows together
 Political – used as a politcal tool – generates regeneration
income – is this the case in Brazil?
Local

 Whole city stops for almost a week
 The celebrations gives everyone a chance to be
involved, street festivals – free
 However...
 Increase in crime – lack of security
Global

 Worlds perception of Brazil – flamboyant, beautiful
women, etc
 Through globalisation, Brazilian influences have
spread over the globe, music dance and culture
 The traits of Rio Carnival can be enjoyed everywhere
Task

 How much do you think the Rio Carnival benefits
the Brazilian people?
 Do you think the Rio Carnival is still seen as a
religious festival?