Research

Over the past 5 years, Alencar has consistently worked in areas related to diversity and the multicultural society, specifically when it comes to the social responsibility of media contents in intercultural processes. In her Marie Sklodowska-Curie project Television News for Promoting Interculturalism. A Novel Step towards Immigrant Integration, Alencar analyzed the challenges of migrant integration in four countries and how news media serve as tools by which migrants and refugees negotiate their social, economic, and cultural conditions. Specifically, this research worked towards a comprehensive and an integrated approach to the understanding of the role of (TV) news media in the integration processes of new migrants in the Netherlands, Spain and Ireland, both at structural and sociocultural levels. In order to understand the factors mediating the relationship between news media and migrant integration, the project studied in depth (1) news coverage patterns for approaching social reality and visibility in television news broadcasts of the host countries; (2) the roles the news play in the integration experiences of immigrants; (3) the potential of an online platform of TV news educational contents specifically designed for this project- to enhance immigrants’ skills in their host country’s language and promote intercultural communication processes through the simulation of online learning experiences with different migrant groups in the countries participating in the project.

Simultaneously, Alencar also worked in collaboration with research projects conducted in different universities and research centers. These projects focused on several interrelated interrelated themes relevant to the filed of media and migration studies. A related focus has pertained to analyzing what messages generate openness toward Western European norms among Muslim immigrants. Jointly with researchers at the University of Amsterdam (ASCoR) Alencar have been collaborating with a series of studies on integration and message effectiveness to test whether narrative versus numerical evidence is more effective among different subgroups of Muslim immigrants. On the other hand, she has also been involved in two (international) research projects on the role of cinema in promoting cultural diversity (together with researchers from the University of Santiago de Compostela in Spain) and the use of entertaining collaborative digital games to foster multicultural integration at Dutch schools (Utrecht University).