Popular culture connects us to people who have other histories and cultures. This qualitative study aims to analyze how the representation of others’ suffering in films affects youths’ empathy towards others different from them in terms of generation and cultural distance. We explore how empathy is expressed as semiotic processes of feelings and meanings in a contrastive cross-cultural case study. Using data col- lected from two college level language classrooms in two different countries (Uruguay and Chile) from two groups (one of regular university students and one of study abroad students), we contrast youths’ re- sponses to a film about violations of human rights during the Uruguayan military dictatorship (Migas de Pan, 2016). The film’s representation of the violation of human rights experienced by young people during the dictatorship enables audiences to identify with the protagonist in spite of the temporal and cultural distance that separates them. Our findings suggest that the semiotic construction of feelings distinguishes the degree and intensity of youths’ understanding of others’ experiences. The conclusion discusses how personal trajectories and sociocultural identities influence the meaning making process of past experi- ences. Finally, we explore possible educational implications of these findings.

Autores (de la FIC)
Patricia Baeza
Ref. bibliográfica
Achugar, M. & Baeza, P. (2021) The affective construction of others’ experience: A cross-cultural comparison of youth’s responses to a film about the Uruguayan dictatorship. Linguistics & Education Vol.66 100993, ISSN 0898-5898