Was the joke on us? Negotiating Mexican identity in transnational Mexican comedy blockbusters since 2013
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In times where globalization, transnationalism, and free-market forces have encouraged the formation of pan-identities, the role of cultural identities has been downplayed to the extent of claiming that they are no longer relevant in media consumption. However, when looking at a specific context, this assumption does not provide straight answers to the success of what is supposed to be local narratives. For example, the economic hits of Mexican comedies since 2013 in Mexico have raised questions regarding the audiences' preferences that neither industrial nor textual analyses had provided answers to. Indeed, Mexican audiences have remained absent from academia by implying assumptions about them by just looking at the prevalent movies in the country. Conducted during turbulent times and through a virtual context due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this dissertation gives voice to the Mexican audience identified as the avid consumer of Mexican films, young professionals/students from 18 to 25 years old, who participated in focus groups and in-depth interviews. Their responses suggest that cultural identity is still a compass to navigate the current media landscape despite all the forces converging in promoting more globalized content. Thus, this study vindicates the individual agency of spectators as a fundamental characteristic in shaping their identity and selecting media content by discussing three main topics: how this Mexican audience define their Mexican identity, why they consume Mexican comedies, and how they negotiate their identity as Mexican facing the (mis)representations available in these films.