Ivan Abarca is a lecturer in Spanish. His research interests are language, media, popular culture, cognition and politics in Latin America.
Ivan Abarca’s research interests are language, media, popular culture, cognition and politics in Latin America. His research focuses, in part, on the cognitive dimension of a culture or sub-cultures through media or popular culture productions such as telenovelas. Telenovelas are the most powerful socio-cultural product of Latin America (even more than cinema and literature) because they are everyday objects that influence real life socio-political practices. His research also explores the connection between media, cognition and politics and looks at how societies construct a model of democracy. It reveals how television fiction can frame and influence politics, in particular presidential elections. Ivan believes his research will contribute to empowering citizens with a more informed and critical awareness of media in democracies across the world. His current research project focuses on the popular genre of narco-telenovelas (soap operas about drug-lords) and how drug-lords are presented as the people’s heroes -- hence the consequences of this phenomenon on the socio-political process. The narco-telenovelas are not an isolated genre but a whole industry with links between the narco-corridos (music), narco-objects and narco-fashion, etc. He is also working on the pre-production of a documentary about Latinos in the Boston area who have converted to Islam.
Ivan Abarca holds a PhD and a Masters Degree in Language Sciences with a specialty in Cognitive Linguistics from the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales in Paris. He holds an undergraduate degree from the Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana-Xochimilco in México City. He has worked in diplomacy and also holds an Executive Certificate in Homeland Security Studies from the Institute for Counter-Terrorism at the Lauder School of Government, Israel, as well as a certificate in Contemporary Criminal Threats from the University of Paris II Assas, Paris.