Global citizens or faraway viewers? São Paulo residents talk about the 2006 Lebanon conflict
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As the emergence of a global public sphere becomes a possibility, growing out of denser economic, political and communicative networks as well as demanded by increasingly complex international problems, questions arise about the capacity and willingness of various national publics to engage in the global debate. This paper shows the results of a news reception analysis with the public of the city of São Paulo, Brazil during the months of July-November 2006, when the Lebanon conflict was broadly covered by the Brazilian media. The paper identifies the modes of engagement with the news about the international conflict, the types of reasoning used by these publics in interpreting the news, and the types of debates and conversations they have or don't have about the conflict. Special attention is given to the personal experience of learning about conflicts abroad and to the relationship between this experience and the construction of a new civic identity where participation in global affairs is an important element. The research shows that São Paulo residents are informed and care about international events, but to a large extent lack the resources and the spaces where they could reflect upon them. It also shows that young people tend to experience global events more intensely as part of their world than the general population. © 2008 Springer Science+Business Media, LLC.