THE RELEVANCE OF THE CHRONICLE FOR LUIZ RUFFATO'S WRITING PROJECT: the authority formation on a specific topic



Cláudia de Albuquerque Thomé

Federal Univeristy of Juiz de Fora (UFJF) – Juiz de Fora, Minas Gerais, Brazil.


ORCID: 0000-0003-4759-3643

Michele Pereira Rodrigues

Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro (PUC-Rio) – Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.


ORCID: 0000-0003-1567-8829



The chronicle is a textual genre with great argumentative potential. For this reason, it commonly projects the name of the chronicler as an opinion leader. The aim of this paper is to investigate the relevance of the chronicle for Luiz Ruffato’s project concerning the Brazilian cultural production field. So, we made a thematic classification of the chronicles of the author published on the El País website in order to identify which theme the author is most dedicated to. We identified a predominance of texts that outline a panorama of the Brazilian politics, which allows us to affirm that Ruffato presents himself as a reference in the subject, acting as a representative of the opinion of his readers, at the same time that forms this opinion.


Chronicle; authority formation; Luiz Ruffato.


The chronicle, a textual genre that transits between literature and journalism, was developed in Brazil in a different way, as a space that encompasses several textual possibilities. Sometimes it may carry characteristics that are closer to literature and at other times may resemble the journalistic text. This fluidity has also allowed the genre, which is originally from the print field, to adapt itself to various media such as radio, TV and, more recently, the internet.

One of the aspects of its textual versatility is the ability to uncover social traces that escape the news. Thus, the chronicle is considered a rich cultural and social indicator of a time and space, either when observing the context of its production or when analyzing the issues expressed in the text.

One of the main functions of the chronicle today is to be an opinion maker. Its argumentative potential and ability to seduce and engage the reader are often used as strategies to achieve the intentions of the authors or medium for which they write. Thus, unlike what happened in the first place, when the genre was not considered relevant and, therefore, many writers used pseudonyms when having their texts published in newspapers, today being a chronicler is a sign of prestige and raises the name of its author to the level of opinion leader. What they write, being published in a widely circulated medium, gives them notoriety. It also implies certain responsibilities concerning the ethical principles of the journalism. On the other hand, communication channels commonly invite any expert, writer or journalist who is recognized as an opinion leader, to become a chronicler and this can add a symbolic value because of their contributions.

Since 2013 in Brazil, the newspaper El País, which has Spanish origin, does not escape this reality. One of its many columnists is Luiz Ruffato, a writer who is nationally and internationally recognized for his novels, which focus on the representation of the Brazilian working class, its conflicts and challenges, and uses these with a severely critical tone towards Brazil, especially when it comes to politics and social issues. He could be considered at first, as an intentionally engaged author who clearly defends flags. But, after analyzing some interviews and testimonials given by him, it is possible to note a symbolic dispute throughout the field of cultural production.

Assuming that the field of contention for speech power and for the recognition of intellectuality is a place where financially affluent social layers and institutions that traditionally are in power have prevailed, Ruffato seems to be outstanding. From humble origin, he worked as a cashier, a shop clerk, a textile worker and a mechanic turner, until graduating as a journalist in the Federal University of Juiz de Fora, in 1981. With his career consolidated, in 2013, he was invited to become a weekly columnist for the Brazilian version of the newspaper El País, a position he held until June 2018.

In his chronicles, the combination of factual and fictional texts shows that the challenges of society in general reflect on our daily lives. Violence, lack of money and the sense of uprooting are problems that become humane when treated in the sphere of private life. The memory of Cataguases, a city in Minas Gerais, in the text on the El País website, based on the chronicler's narrative, helps, among other resources, the construction of his discourse and legitimation.

That said, we seek to investigate how Ruffato makes use of his space in the newspaper to face the field of Brazilian cultural production. So, the objective of this paper is to perform a thematic classification of Ruffato's chronicles published on the El País website in order to identify which theme the author is most dedicated to. After that, we describe these themes. In this way, we believe to obtain greater indicators about what is the field in which the author claims his space as an intellectual.

The methodological procedures involve, at first, a bibliographic review about the chronicle as a gender and the formation of opinion in a context that the new media allows a broader reach of what is conveyed and, later, the classification of the chronicles, using the critical narrative analysis methodology proposed by Luiz Gonzaga Motta (2013).

The power of the media in shaping opinion

In common sense, an intellectual person is commonly known as an individual who becomes a reference to be followed in a given subject. In today's society, marked by the use of the Internet, where the capacity for dialogue and contact with people goes beyond physical limits, the formation of common interest groups is no longer conditioned to be in the same space as it used to be in other times. Therefore, the scope of influence is widened.

On this subject, Norberto Bobbio comments:

The means by which intellectuals can be recognized and enforce their own ideas (whether having them or not) are enormous. No possible comparison can be made between the time when Socrates entertained himself with friends, disciples or students in intimate dialogue, and our time when an article published in any newspaper can be read immediately by thousands of people or a television broadcast can be seen by millions. Our auditorium has dilated excessively. From limited to a region, to a territory, to a city, it became national [...]. From national, in some cases, it becomes almost international, thanks to the speed of translations and the speed of communication (Bobbio, 1997, p. 93-94).

Obviously, every act is political and every speech constitutes a stand. What is discussed here is that there are people who became a kind of leader and their actions are observed while reverberating in the postures of others. Thus, it is important to observe the behavior of these people, as it will reflect on all others who take them as leaders.

It also implies, a posture that affirms itself and excludes the others, as Barthes comments, quoted by Ruth Amossy “The speaker utters information and at the same time says: I am this, I am not that” (2011, p. 10). This posture refers to an aesthetics that is valued today, which privileges the narratives whose authors relate directly to the narrated fact, that is, privileges the place of which one speaks. For each speech, there are expectations concerning the speaker behaviors. Therefore, there is no wide representation in hegemonic media, as well as in several prominent social spaces. The appreciation of the aesthetics of the speech place emerges as a counter-force and a desire for the democratization of prominent spaces.

The media, such as TV, radio and newspaper, as another institution of the public sphere, exerts a power to form public opinion and, thus, becomes one of these fields of dispute for space control by the actors that represent the economic, political and ideological powers. Peter Burke and Asa Briggs point out that

The concept of "public opinion" emerged in the late eighteenth century, and the concern about the "masses" can be observed from the nineteenth century, at a time when newspapers [...] helped shape a national consciousness, leading people to be aware of other readers (Burke & Briggs, 2016, p.13).

The media, especially the newspapers, which were the most usual support at the time, emerged as a power parallel to the state. While this represents a democratic advance, as it distributes power to another social actor, it becomes a paradox, as there is a need for regulation of this power.

Patrick Charaudeau (2006) argues that the media is based on three logics: economic, technological and symbolic. The symbolic, explains the author, occurs because the media explores the image of being a democratic medium and has the social function of helping the population. This happens because, in their inability to witness everything that happens, people delegate to the media the ability to select and synthesize what is interesting to them. These media are often seen as able to make public “everything the public needs to know” (Pena, 2007, p. 71).

In general, values ​​such as truth, impartiality, and objectivity are still sought by the audience, often nurtured by the media's assurance concerning the possibility of reaching it. So, it is observed that the press works with the idea of ​​promise and the reader has expectations and believes they will be met. This promise is often fostered by the media, even knowing the impossibility of fulfilling it. (Jost, 2004)

The technological factor influences the reach of information. But, like the other points highlighted by Charaudeau, we can not seek to understand the media way of production without considering that we are talking about companies, in other words, institutions that aim to profit and, thus, at some point, the economic factors will show up.

As pointed out by Sodré (2009), the fact that many media are controlled by private companies does not imply deliberate manipulation of information, but ultimately, it should be noted that, a newspaper for example, negotiates with companies that advertise in this space and its audiences, and, therefore, somehow meets the traditional power.

It is also possible to observe that the technology advance in the communication sector can create a revolution that affects the whole productive chain and also the social and private life of the people. It often allows direct access to the sources without the intermediation of a channel. An example, concerning the journalism, is the change in a gatekeeping system, which refers to interventions by journalists, producers and editors on information, which defines what, how and when something will be published to a collaborative model called gatewatching.

With the explosive increase of information on a worldwide scale, the need to provide information about information has become a crucial addition to journalism's skills and tasks [...]. This redefines the role of the journalist as a role of note taker or advisor, a change from watchdog to “dog guide” (Bardoel & Deuze, 2001, p. 94).

The idea that “(...) the more participants can examine, evaluate and expand the contributions from their predecessors, the more likely it will be to have a result of strong and growing quality” (Bruns, 2008, p. 24) has prevailed. The traditional media can participate in this process, but they must now see themselves as contributors to the production of the information.

In this context, in which many voices can be heard, the dispute over the audience is accentuated. It is noted that the amount of people over which one has influence becomes a bargaining chip. An example of this is the emergence of new functions such as digital influencer, which appears from the popularization of social networks. The person who engages in this activity, for many reasons, acquires expert status on a subject, such as makeup, physical exercise, or performance of their profession, and by gaining followers, it is common that they make advertising campaign in exchange for products and services of the brands, thus, transforming their ability to influence into a business.

While the digital influencers seek to increase their number of followers, the influencer that is an intellectual has another focus: to seek the understanding of things. They can, however, make the mistake of restricting their knowledge to small groups.

Nowadays, it is possible to find in the media philosophers, teachers, historians, in other words, people who are traditionally known for their knowledge, spreading their works and talking to a large number of people on the Youtube. Usually this is through lectures, debates, workshops[1], which slide into the web.

To understand this it is important to know that the phenomenon of mediatization has affected the way in which individuals relate to each other. This also happens to journalism. According to Sodré, the mediatization is a process from which the media “becomes a kind of support of the practical consciousness in which informative flux rearrange or even invent routines inscribed in the existential time-space” (Sodré, 2006, p. 29).

This mediatization process establishes “a new place for the media” in journalism, as stated by Soster and Piccinin (2016). For them, media journalism can be observed from five movements: the self-reference, the correlation, the decentralization, the actorization and the dialogy (Soster, 2013; Piccinin & Soster, 2016). In this context, the backstage of the news becomes popular and the journalist, in a process of actorization, turns into a media character. The number of followers becomes the currency and there is the possibility of converting this number into an audience.

All this influence of the media system in the organization of society implies the presence of what Muniz Sodré called media bios[2]. The concept is based on the idea that the media is an ambience, a way of life, and therefore can be seen as the fourth bios, beyond those predicted by Aristotle: knowledge, pleasure, and politics. This fourth bios deals with the combination of the extension of the market, the sphere of social relationships and the advance in the communication sector, promoted by the development of computing. The point is that the media guides and helps to modify social values, but speaks in the name of the market, in a language that aims to be seductive.

We can understand that, as the influence has become the cultural capital, it is desired by the people and, therefore, becomes a value to be sought. It may even come from a natural trait, but in the vast majority of cases it is purposely developed and refined through learning and the use of techniques.

In the chronicle studies, it seems important to understand that many authors seek, in various ways, the possibility of movement in the field of cultural production, to use the words of Cerqueira in his doctoral thesis (Cerqueira, 2016). Cerqueira defines movement as the set of “existing negotiations between the author and the literary field” (2016, p. 17), in which he seeks recognition and reward at the same time.

That said, we believe in the importance of demonstrating that people, in the so-called information age, have the goal of conquering sympathizers. Marketing is no longer an exclusive prerogative of companies and also provides resources for an increasing number of individuals eager for their personal promotion. In a society that is primarily imagetic and that appreciates the arguing ability[3], the construction of self-image is a fundamental element in the search for success.

This phenomenon affects the most varied spheres of life and would be no different with literature and journalism. The chronicle, a genre that moves between the two fields, has in its versatility one of its main characteristics, besides the proposal to present facts or aspects of a daily life that does not always have space in the news.

We highlight, among many other possible examples, Luiz Ruffato's chronicles on the El País website and we believe that the following explanations will make this choice clear.

The relevance of the chronicle for Ruffato's project

The origin of the chronicle has the idea of ​​chronological reports and in the Portuguese and Spanish expansionist expeditions, Pero Vaz de Caminha was considered the main chronicler, being the first one to write about Brazil in his letter in 1500 (Sá, 2005). But the genre has consolidated itself in Brazilian lands differently from that adopted in other parts of the world, an observation made by José Marques de Melo (1985, p. 111). He explains that, in other countries, the chronicle is configured as a chronological report. In Brazil, however, the genre is consolidated as a brief, opinionated text, between the literary narrative and the factual narrative published in the newspapers.

Known, therefore, as being a border genre between journalism and literature, and focusing on daily life, the chronicle slides through the media, from newspaper to web, radio and television. Moreover, it is a genre of complex classification and different typologies. For Muniz Sodré (2009), the definition of this genre is closer to its form than to its content. Antônio Prata, writer, chronicler and screenwriter, goes in the same direction. For him, the theme matters less than the writing of the text (Reis, 2015, p. 50). Because of this flexibility, therefore, the author is free to work within that space, which, in short, results in the valorization of his work and the possibility of creating a discursive identity.

One of the most interesting points during Ruffato's lecture at the I Conference of Media and Literature, which took place at the Federal University of Juiz de Fora[4] in 2017, is the highlight he gives to the chronicle in his project as a writer. He recognizes the fact that these texts have given him more visibility than his books: “Today I am sure that when someone hears about Luiz Ruffato, it is much more because of El País than because of my books (...)” (Ruffato in Rodrigues, 2018, p. 150). He continues: “It is clear that when I go to Germany and someone comes to me and says ‘I keep up with Brazilian events by reading what you write' it's very important” (Ruffato in Rodrigues, 2018, p. 153).

So, we realize that by his production, Ruffato becomes relevant for issues he deals with, helping the construction of his image as an intellectual and an agent of an unsatisfied social layer and, somehow, seeks a better future. As he often narrates in the first person, putting himself as a character in his stories, he is given credibility and that occurs at the moment he puts himself as an expert of the reality he tells for having lived situations close to what appears in his texts.

Therefore, it is important for this research to understand what subjects Ruffato deals with in the texts of El País, especially because the chronicle is a textual genre that encompasses the most diverse themes[5]. So, how does Ruffato act? What positions does he take for himself, given that this is the space through which he now becomes better known? To solve this question, we seek support in the critical narrative analysis (Motta, 2013).

According to Motta (2013), observing the text looking for this instance means identifying the functionalities of the characters in the narrative, the sequence and the fitting with other sequences to form the plot, the use of flashbacks and flashforwards[6], the opposition between characters, etc. This way, we can find, depending on the aspect we are analyzing, (it could be thematic or about types of chronicles, for example) or even an analysis of the entire universe of chronicles, sequences that begin in a text but resolve only in future chronicles, as some facts unfold, as in the case of chronicles of political analysis. It is also possible to notice characters that shape themselves throughout the texts. In other words, many types of situation that characterize a narrative.

The chosen methodological proposal also provides a relational analysis of the text. According to Motta

The proposed path [...] starts from phenomenology, a method that allows us to understand narratives in their essence and in their relationships. The path of phenomenology not only allows us to understand the logical adjustments of narrative discourse in response to the desires and intentions of the communicative situation, but also allows us to access its full meaning and the explanation of this meaning in the social and historical context (Motta, 2013, p. 123).

Ruffato's set of chronicles in El País represents a broad and complex narrative spanning over 200 texts. However, there are ways to subdivide his production into layers, doing what Motta (2013) calls the new narrative synthesis.

Motta relies on Greimas' postulates to suggest that we identify “the heterogeneous in the homogeneous” (2013, p.107). This effort is important because it is at the meeting of the parties that “the audience builds reality” (Motta, 2013, p. 107). That is, according to Motta, the audience builds reality from the various information to which they have access.

In media analysis we need to focus on the narrative communication process, on the narrator's attitude and position, the intentions and strategies, the mediating role, the deictics and implicatures, the possible meaning effects, and other aspects of the integral narrative communication process - and not only with the product, as does literary narratology, whose focus still remains on the work and its immanent structures [...] (Motta, 2013, p. 92).

This author's perspective offers a look at the narrative that considers the entire context in which it is produced, taking into account the forces acting on the argumentative construction, that is, the narrator's production conditions, such as the dialectic between his intentions and the recipients' acknowledgments. In this sense, Motta offers three instances of analysis: the expression scheme, which deals with the language used in discursive construction, the story scheme, which seeks the understanding of the content of the object analyzed and the metanarrative scheme, which leads us to seek the background theme of that narrative.

Searching for what Motta (2013) calls the story scheme, we then move to the thematic identification of Ruffato's production. It is important to highlight that, we are considering the range of publications from November 26th, 2013 to September 30th, 2017. The initial date corresponds to Ruffato's first chronicle published on the El País website. The final date was defined considering that there was already a sufficient amount of chronicles to be analysed. A total of 200 texts were published during this period.

So, we classified Ruffato's chronicles based on the themes used. It is necessary to emphasize that in the same chronicle it is possible to find several themes, especially when it comes to politics, economics, health and education. In general, the problematic of a theme is justified by the occurrence of situations external to it. We also highlight that, although Afrânio Coutinho's (1984) chronicle study typology is more linked to its structure than to its theme, the author's assumptions inspired our classification.

Below is a table containing each of these thematic divisions, as well as the number of chronicles and the corresponding percentage of the total chronicles. It is, therefore, a quantitative analysis of Ruffato's chronicles published on the El País website.

Table 1 - Classification of chronicles

Types of chronicle

Social behaviour

Memory and city

Overview of the Brazilian situation (politics)


Number of texts










Source: The authors

From the information shown above, we could check the amount of chronicles that fundamentally provide an overview of the Brazilian political, economic and social situation from Luiz Ruffato's point of view.

Ruffato's dedication to political themes is a relevant clue to the understanding of the construction of his image as a writer and chronicler as well as intellectual, considering his affiliation to a given subject, which gives him a certain intellectual authority.

In this sense, we understand that the construction of Brazil's image, based on Ruffato's perception, takes place primarily from the perspective of political analysis. We must consider, however, that even in the other categories, the tone of denunciation and engagement is found. What changes is the discursive strategy.

Categories description

After an analysis and categorization of the chronicles, it was necessary to distinguish the characteristics of each of the adopted ones. This effort required a new reading of the corpus in order to verify the adequacy of each text in the adopted descriptions.

At the end of this task, we reached the description of the thematic fields, based mainly on the studies of Afrânio Coutinho (1984) about the chronicle.

Social behavior

There are chronicles in this category that talk about the social, racial and gender prejudice and intolerance towards the different, even when observing the support to political parties. This group resembles Afrânio Coutinho's typology of metaphysical chronicle (1984). According to this author, these chronicles are “made up of more or less philosophical reflections of events or men” (Coutinho, 1984, p. 291).

In general, Ruffato shows in these chronicles the Brazilian racial and social miscegenation to disqualify the arguments of those who act with some prejudice. It is also important to highlight that we have included here the texts in which opposing political positions confront each other.

Xenophobia and Stupidity, published on May 10th, 2017, a text loaded with strong adjectives, is a Ruffato’s reflection about the intolerance to the different, which is frequent in Brazil, according to him.

Apart from the African descendants, who came to Brazil by force of iron and scourge, all the others are usurpers of indigenous lands. All the others are not the homeowners. We do not have the right to prevent new immigrants from choosing Brazil to live. As immigrants, we have come here, the vast majority of us, miserable, fleeing hunger and the lack of prospects - just like the Bolivians, Haitians, Nigerians, Chinese who are the new faces of this phenomenon which is worldwide today.[7]

In the above excerpt, Ruffato's emphasis on the fact that Brazilian society is formed by a diffusion of people demonstrates his discomfort regarding the non-acceptance of migrants who want to enter the country today. It is important to point out that he stands as a participant in this conflict situation, since he uses the pronoun “we”.

Memory and city

We identified in this category that narratives in general deal with the memories of Ruffato's childhood and adolescence in Cataguases. So, most of them are stories told in the first person about situations that happened or were witnessed by him. It is possible to identify mentions of his early reading experiences, as well as tributes to close people who died. There are some chronicles in this category that are close to the tale, which are not narrated in the first person, but were included in this article because they deal with particular dramas as the previous ones and follow a narrative structure close to the others that were included here. In Afrânio Coutinho's (1984) classification, this group represents the chronicle narrative, “whose pivot is a story” (Coutinho, 1984, p. 291).

An example of the chronicles classified in this theme is We are ice detached from an iceberg, published on January 22nd, 2014.

On December 31st, late in the afternoon, I met Marquinhos Taioba and Jorginho Pigeon Breast in Rui Barbosa Square, and together we concluded that, in order to grow up, we urgently needed to leave the city. And we scheduled our trip six days from that day, a trip that would start in Juiz de Fora and would take me further and further away from me. So I sat alone on the white pellets bench near the modernist bandstand, looked at the sibipurunas, breathed in the warm green air of the twilight, squeezed the empty packet of popcorn, and followed with melancholy rapture, the footing of the boys and girls who knew nothing about the time conspiracy[8]

In this excerpt, we can find two faces of Ruffato's acting as a chronicler. The memorial side, in which he reveals one of the dramas of his life and his friends in Cataguases. The lack of jobs in the city forces them to migrate to a larger city. In addition to this social indicator, which, as sensibly and privately as it is told, would not be included in the journalistic text, we notice the portrait of the city's daily life through Ruffato's gaze. The scenario that is narrated in detail is loaded with life by the narrator's gaze, largely because of the sociability presented.

An overview of the (political) Brazilian situation

Within this thematic group we found two thematic variations, which would not justify the creation of a new group, but have particular characteristics. The first one is about texts dealing with public policy, which consider general data on economics, education, politics, corruption and society, and the second one is about chronicles that comment on party politics in which Ruffato makes comments about law, acts of politicians, especially about Michel Temer, the writer's frequent target and also about the impeachment of the then-president Dilma Rousseff. We searched among the types of chronicles defined by Afrânio Coutinho (1984) for a correspondence to these chronicles. Again, the metaphysical chronicle is the most proximate type.

The following excerpt is from the chronicle On rape, racism, homophobia, etc., from May 30th, 2016. Here is a good example of how texts classified as political are. When Ruffato reflects on political aspects of Brazil, he often does so by addressing themes that are transversal. The violence that occurs in Brazil, for example, is often explained by Ruffato as a deficiency in the educational system.

You who have followed me until now may be wondering: what does the title have to do with the content of this article? It's all about. An uneducated country - without critical thinking - finds normal that a woman is raped every 11 minutes and every hour and a half a woman is killed. An uneducated country - without critical thinking - finds normal that we do not have black teachers, black politicians, black doctors, black engineers, black writers, black journalists. An uneducated country - without critical thinking - finds the homicide of 381 homosexuals in the last year normal. An uneducated country - without critical thinking - finds normal to have 150 people murdered a day. An uneducated country - without critical thinking - finds normal the death 42,000 people a year in traffic accidents. An uneducated country - without critical thinking - finds normal for a minister to discuss education plans with a porn star, an obscure businessman and a retired promoter.[9]

In addition, Ruffato comments on Brazilians' attachment to miracles, which occurs, according to him, when there is no hope for a better future. In politics, this reflects in the search for solutions that seem to solve the problem immediately, but that do not last for a long time.

General Themes

Here are the chronicles that deal with general themes, such as ephemeris, soccer comments (especially during the World Cup in Brazil), reading experience and comments about religion.

We cataloged the chronicles with different themes that could not be part of the other categories. No extra categories were created to fit them because many of them are the only ones about the theme they are dealing with, that is, there is no need to create a category to cover a single text. This category is based on the comment-chronicle of the events of Afrânio Coutinho. Coutinho quotes Eugênio Gomes' expression to say that the chronicles of this type refer to an “Asian bazaar” because they accumulate “many different or disparate things” (Coutinho, 1984, p. 292).

Below is an excerpt from Gauchos and Mineiros published on June 24th, 2014.

In order not to extend myself too much, I will list some common expressions, among countless, to Gauchos and Mineiros: to kick someone’s ass, to shake hands, coward, to show who’s the boss, to lose your mind, what’s up, man? joking aside, gentle rain, good person, silly billy,  gossiper, big mouth, softy, beanpole, notebook customer, hoe bath, to give up, to keep someone waiting, don’t hold your breath, to get pissed off, to hit on someone, to have someone to warm you ...[10] [11]

In this text, Ruffato's motto is the similarity of idioms used by Gauchos and Mineiros. He says he is surprised because many of the expressions that he believed were specifically used by the people of Minas Gerais are also used by the Gauchos. According to him, the link to deal with this, was the book Bá, tchê! by Luiz Augusto Fischer, which had been given to him.

Final considerations

In Ruffato's chronicle, which presents itself as a fragmented narrative reaching the reader weekly, there is an implicit invitation to the readers to participate in the construction of the text by requiring them to have a repertoire of either about chronicles or even the news so that the effect of the text is completed. In the internet environment, which is still recent, but even more for the chronicle, Ruffato explores the hyperlink feature, giving the reader clues about this places and also about his point of views concerning his narrative.

In this sense, we believe that Ruffato's chronicle consists of a living and under construction element, contrary to the concept of the work, which represents an already finished project. The permeability of the discourse that runs through Ruffato's entire production, transfigures itself in each support and medium in which the author is present, showing us that he is concerned both with the theme of the text and his position about it, as well as how this text will make up his entire project.

One of the strategies to achieve these goals is the presence of a narrator who is sometimes the protagonist and sometimes the witness, but in both cases does not have a neutral stance towards what he narrates. On the contrary, his stance is combative, resilient, and engaged, even in chronicles where the narrator offers the reader small doses of the news. Simple fact selections, as we said before, are enough to deconstruct the objectivity discourse.

Throughout this discursive construction, Ruffato emerges as an intellectual who represents with his writing the social group that agrees with his postures. His space in the newspaper, a traditional medium, represents a space of resistance to what is observed in the field of Brazilian politics.

The chronicle, by gathering shared perceptions and bringing up this type of discussion, may work as a mechanism for fostering collective engagement. Perhaps this is one of its most important functions.


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Cláudia de Albuquerque Thomé

Federal Univeristy of Juiz de Fora (UFJF) – Juiz de Fora, Minas Gerais, Brazil.


ORCID: 0000-0003-4759-3643

Michele Pereira Rodrigues

Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro (PUC-Rio) – Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.


ORCID: 0000-0003-1567-8829

Submitted on April 12 2019 / Accepted on August 26 2019

To reference this article, please use the following citation: Thomé, Cláudia de Albuquerque; Rodrigues, Michele Pereira. The relevance of the chronicle for Luiz Ruffato’s writing project: the authority formation on a specific topic. Contracampo – Brazilian Journal of Communication, Niterói, v,39, n.1, p. 1-13, April/2020 July/2020.




[1] Some examples are Leandro Karnal and Clóvis de Barros Filho. The first one is a historian and professor at the University of Campinas. The second one is a journalist and professor in the area of Ethics at the School of Communication and Arts of the University of São Paulo. Both are lecturers on human behavior for audiences ranging from college students to companies and the general public. They invest in social networks content and together add up to millions of hits on YouTube.

[2] Muniz Sodré defended this idea in the interview with Desirée Rabelo. Retrieved January 27th, 2018, from

[3] In 2016, post-truth was named the word of the year by the Oxford Dictionaries, the department of Oxford University in charge of the dictionaries. The term describes the "circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief." It is not, therefore, a synonym for lies, but a relativization of what is true. For more information, access: Viewed on: December 20th, 2017.

[4] For more information about the event visit: Viewed on: April 12th, 2019

[5] Two important works that discuss the theme of chronicle are Ear Literature: Daily Chronicles by Radio Waves and the thesis The suburban like letter: the daily life of the periphery in acid and carnavalized chronicles, whose references can be consulted at the end of this work.

[6] Flashback corresponds to “any retrospective temporal movement intended to report events prior to the present action, or even prior to its beginning” (Motta, 2013, p. 142). Flashforward is a movement of anticipation in which future events are exposed in the present action (Motta, 2013).

[7] Retrieved August 13th, 2019, from

[8] Retrieved August 13th, 2013, from:

[9] Retrieved August 13th, 2019, from:

[10] Retrieved August 13th, 2019, from:

[11] Original content: “Para não me estender muito, passo a enumerar algumas, dentre inúmeras, expressões comuns a gaúchos e mineiros: acabar com a raça, apertar os ossos, borra-bosta, botar o pau na mesa, botar os cachorros, firme?, fora de sacanagem, chuva de molhar bobo, boa gente, bobo alegre, boca mole, boca grande, manteiga derretida, pau de vira tripa, freguês de caderno, banho de gato, dar pra trás, deixar plantado, esperar sentado, ficar mordido, arrastar asa, cobertor de orelha…”