French Journal For Media Research

María Agustina Sabich

An interdisciplinary analysis of the fictional television story on the argentine signal Pakapaka


L'article suivant explore la configuration du récit fictif télévisé dans deux programmes argentins destinés à la petite enfance sur le signal public Pakapaka. L'étude souligne que le récit fictif télévisé construit une esthétique audiovisuelle qui tend à l´exaltation des aspects culturels du territoire argentin et latino-américain, grâce au déploiement de différents éléments techniques et linguistiques qui favorisent le développement d'une vision décentralisée dans le public.


The following paper explores the configuration of the television fictional story in two argentine programs for early childhood on the public signal Pakapaka. The study points out that the television fictional story builds an audiovisual aesthetic that tends to claim cultural aspects of the Argentine and Latin American territory, through the deployment of different technical and linguistic elements that promote the development of a decentralized view in the audiences.

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1Pakapaka (a name of Quechua origin that means “hiding place”, child's play) is the first public and educational children's channel in Argentina and Latin America. The television signal was developed, at first, as a strip of the “Encuentro Channel” and, later, on September 17, 2010, it was consolidated as an autonomous signal, at that time, dependent on the Ministry of Education of the Nation. Pakapaka arises from the implementation of Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) in the Argentine territory and the sanction of the Law of Audiovisual Communication Services No. 25,522 promulgated in 2009, which in its article No. 17 creates the Advisory Council of Audiovisual Communication and Children, made up of different people and social organizations specialized in issues related to children and teenagers.

2The channel's programming is viewed by various authors as a space that articulates education with entertainment. However, besides, Pakapaka arises at a socio-historical moment in which the relationship between public television and children is changing (Pérez-Tornero & Vilches, 2010). This transformation is due, in part, to the fact that the new programs represent children assuming proactive and leading roles, which makes them take a certain distance from the directives of the adult world. As Fuenzalida (2016) expresses it, the new conception of the “child-audience” is constituted from the assessment of the emotional tone on the screen, the presence of warm and affectionate adult voices, the search for interactivity, playful imagination, exploration and curiosity, and appreciation for the acquisition of self-esteem and self-confidence.

3Salviolo (2012 & 2013) proposes a point of view in which media have to recognize boys and girls as subjects of human rights and as symbolic and material producers of the societies they make up. From this perspective, the author specifies that children are not “ future subjects”, that they will potentially be “something” in society, but rather they are historical and social actors in the present time, with concerns, questions, and conflicts. In this sense, childhood does not mean being “less adult” but rather constitutes a form of experience of being and inhabiting the world. Indeed, public television establishes a differentiated contract with its spectators, which is not, particularly, to capture the interest of the audience “literally”, but to configure that attention in a significant way. All these guidelines assume the idea that children have the right to access high-quality content, whose design and the narrative is conducive to the development of fun, the configuration of new aesthetics, learning, and the construction of identity, the opening of experiences, and the creation of a more equitable society (González, 2012).

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Figure 1. Pakapaka´s logo

4Since its beginning, the channel has promoted the training of citizen child-addressees and not child-consumers. The prototypical educational and socio-emotional values ​​of the signal are associated with different functions that have the premise of recognizing the affective, formative, and cognitive needs of the audiences, according to their different age, cultural, ethnic, and social ranges. At the same time, it is intended to generate attractive productions to captivate the interest of children in a meaningful and respectful way, by stimulating play, fantasy, and imagination, and by promoting entertaining pedagogical instances, linked to cultural diversity, familiarization with everyday situations and the representation of the child as an empowered subject (Salviolo, 2013).

5Another initiative that the channel promotes is a type of “close-up attention” (Fuenzalida, 2016), that is, a mode of reception in which the forms and contents have been elaborated considering the utility that may have for the children, by resuming their interests but also their learning possibilities. Thus, for example, in early childhood, children can identify simple figures, linear narratives, spot colors, and some close-ups and camera movements such as zooming and panning, while resources such as flashback or flash-forward cannot perceive them with ease. Something that also facilitates understanding in this period of growth is the existence of elements such as musical repetition, the inclusion of sound effects, and the staging of children's voices that generate a certain identification with the public.

A narrative and a pedagogical communication

6As we anticipated, the article analyzes the functioning of the television fictional narrative in the first seasons of two programs aimed at early childhood: Medialuna y las noches mágicas and Amigos (Half-moon and magical nights and Friends in English). We get inspired by the Eliseo Veron’s Theory of Social Discourses (1998), a sociosemiotic approach that focuses on the social production of meaning. To delimit a field of possible meaning effects, we infer a set of rules applied to discourse or a “discourse package” at a specific socio-historical moment.

7Medialuna y las noches mágicas is an animated children's series co-produced by Focus and Pakapaka, directed by Esteban Gaggino, and a screenplay by Luciano Saracino, Marcelo Cabrera and Paula Varela that to date have a total of three seasons. The main character is a princess with Quechua features who lives in the kingdom of “Locoto” and who, through play, fantasy, and imagination, goes through different playful experiences during the night with her animal friends Iruya, Petunia, Chacabuco, Yunuén, and Yagua. The pedagogical proposal of the program resides in making visible, on the one hand, some of the national and Latin American geographies and cultures, and on the other, dismantling certain stereotypes that run through the prototypical scenarios of princesses, kingdoms, and witches, typical of stories and children's movies.

8For its part, Amigos is an animated children's series co-produced by Yoquer 3D and Pakapaka and, so far, has a total of two seasons. It is directed by Ricardo Achart, while its production is by María Eugenia Vergara and the script by Nicolás Zalcman and Lucila Las Heras. The main character, Santi, is a 4-year-old boy who lives with his parents in an interior neighborhood and goes through different daily situations with his invisible friend “Elbiz”, a sort of “adult” companion and guide on his adventures. In this program, the pedagogical proposal is related to showing and helping to process a set of emotional and psychological problems that, at an early age, become somewhat conflictive for children, such as learning to dress or taking a bath alone and to assume small responsibilities.

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Figure 2. Medialuna and Yunuén. 

The main characters of the series Medialuna y las noches mágicas

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Figure 3. The characters of the series Amigos

9Following the psychosocial stages that Erikson formulates regarding child development, Fuenzalida (2016) points out that early childhood is summarized in the phrase “I can”. In this instance, the basic tasks to be solved are related to the initiative, capacity, and purpose, based on a growing abandonment of passivity, doubt, and fear. The child goes through discovery processes that include moral conscience, incipient language management, initiation in affective learning, identification of genders and social functions, social insertion, and resolution of the Oedipus complex.

10In this sense, both Medialuna and Amigos propose to build a narrative and pedagogical scenario oriented to the specific resolution of problems, through overcoming obstacles, internal motivation, and interaction with the environment. Concerning this, Fuenzalida (2016) explains that knowledge about psychosocial training in the life cycle of the human being has made it possible to optimize the image of the child-audience on television, based on the classification by age and by the types of learnings. Thus, at each stage, the subject has a basic task or objective to fulfill, so the social environment is expected to collaborate in the resolution of emerging tensions so that the individual is favored from that instance.

11Next, we propose to explore with greater precision the discursive mechanisms developed in the two fictional stories intended for early childhood to account for their operation and their main characteristics.

Teaching the wonderful and social behavior in early childhood

12The stories developed in Medialuna and Amigos are organized around the structural principles of the story. As Todorov (1991) indicates, every story can be defined as the chronological and causal chain of the discontinuous units that make up its narrative structure, units that are articulated through the presence of “succession” and “transformation” relationships. In the case of the chosen corpus, the confirmation of the story not only allows to build a story but also to teach content or a particular topic.

13In the first season of Medialuna y las noches mágicas, the story seems to have as a production condition the videoludic discourse, since it is organized based on three moments, which are: 1) leaving the palace and entering the forest, 2) the appearance of a situation conflict and its resolution, and 3) the restoration of balance by returning to the palace. The first of the scenes is conveyed by the presentation of a riddle that the characters must unveil; on the other hand, the second –generally related to the appearance of a “bad” character represented in the figure of the witch, the dragon, or the existence of difficulty in the forest–, develops as the problem nucleus that establishes a lack of situation or lack of in history that will later be resolved. An interesting element is that to get out of the problematic situation, the characters have to memorize the clues to the riddle given at the beginning of each episode. Finally, the last situation, that is, the one characterized by the return of the characters to the palace, involves an instance of outcome that usually ends with the princess sleeping and the girl's father carrying out unsuccessful experiments to remove the spell produced by the witch.

14Following Todorov (1991), the structure of the riddle is made up of three fundamental elements: first, the tropic relationship established between a symbolizing (present) and a symbolizing (absent); secondly, the presence of polysemic definitions oriented to synonymy that is distinguished from ordinary definitions and, thirdly, the phonic conformation that is characterized by the existence of regular rhymes, alliterations, and rhythms. Thus, among the riddles that can be identified, those that aim to contribute to the identification of characters and also objects stand out: “There is a toad in love / that turns red / with a good dip / the emotion passes” (Answer: Chacabuco toad); “If you want to look for friends / in the jungle there is a lot/one is waiting for you / although he is a bit grumpy” (Answer: Ferucho dragon).

15Besides, to exercise memorization and to generate familiarity in the sounds that the child hears, most of these are organized in octosyllabic or hexasyllabic verses. Undoubtedly, the riddles also promote the construction of a “curious” and “restless” audience, through the representation of a child who is stimulated by problem-solving and by the appeal of going out to unravel mysteries.

16An attractive didactic element that riddles also promote is the insertion of the spectators in themes associated with the “wonderful genre”, which is characterized by the “normalized” presence of supernatural elements (Todorov, 1981). The characteristic that predominates in this genre is not related to an uncomfortable or hesitant attitude towards the presence of the phenomena, but rather to an instance of naturalness or acceptance towards the events reported. Thus, in Medialuna y las noches mágicas, the spectator is introduced into a world in which events unfold normally: a hungry dragon who wants to eat a toad, a witch who designs spells to put the kingdom to sleep, a princess who sleeps day and night awake, a group of animals that dialogue with the main character, a drum that invokes the rain, a magical tree that takes care of the characters in the face of the adversities of the jungle. In this way, the television story appeals to the specificities of the marvelous genre to generate in children learning that conceives the universe of the “supernatural” as a field of the possible. Through the anthropomorphization of animals, the story also takes into account the psychological characteristics of the viewer, determined in early childhood, by the presence of childhood animism (Piaget, 2018).

17In the case Amigos´s first season, the conflict that occurs in the story usually manifests itself through a difficulty that the main character has to face: for example, assuming the responsibility of caring for an animal, using the bicycle without “wheels”, establish the first contacts with reading, participate in the growth of a plant, and learn to socialize with other boys and girls. As in Medialuna, in Amigos the figure of an annunciator predisposed to teaching behaviors and proactive attitudes in the child, and a “restless” addressee who feels interested in the progressive acquisition of autonomy, for example, through the presence of themes that encourage the child to dress on their own, to sleep without light and to meet and dive into the sea for the first time. In this sense, “Elbiz” - Santi's invisible friend - fulfills the function of helping to process common changes in the early stage through conversation and joint play. However, as the main character grows, the imaginary friend will disappear, to contribute to the child's independence process.

18Based on the review of the psychoanalytic literature, Bonsignore (2016) points out that the appearance of the imaginary friend in childhood tends to be gestated in the preoperational stage, that is, approximately between 2 and 7 years of age, at which time in which the child begins to develop the psycho and locomotor apparatus and in which tasks of body coordination, intellectual development and socialization begin. For this reason, the imaginary friend -who often tends to have “adult” characteristics- is an invisible character that only the child identifies and with whom they undertake play and dialogue activities for a short period. For this reason, the figure of the invisible friend is used as an “auxiliary superego” that collaborates in the consolidation of the definitive superego and that also serves to prolong the feelings of social control (Bonsignore, 2016).

19As in Medialuna, in the Amigos series, the fictional story takes into account the psychological characteristics of the audiences that are related to the symbolic function and the egocentric function of the subject. Since the child is in a pre-verbal or pre-logical instance, it is difficult for the child to display a point of view and develop explanations for others. For this reason, through the figure of the imaginary friend, “he speaks to himself incessantly, [through] varied monologues that accompany his games and [his actions] (…). Thus, “these soliloquies are differentiated by the fact that they are pronounced aloud and by their character as helpers in immediate action” (Piaget, 2018, p. 32).

20In this program, the story also uses the marvelous genre to configure a scenario that is both didactic and fictional, in which the phenomena are presented naturally. In addition to the figure of “Elbiz”, we find “the country of invisible friends”, a sort of parallel universe in which a doctor lives: the Pupu Cosquillas (also known as “doctor of everything”), with whom the characters converse when they are faced with a difficult situation to resolve. For example, in some cases, the consultation is made because the child wants to “change his name” since he is not satisfied with the one assigned to him. In this way, contact with the doctor allows the situation to be alleviated through humor and de-dramatization of the problem. In these cases, the fictional story uses the marvelous genre not only to promote fantasy, imagination, and creativity in children but also to contribute to the teaching of habits and behaviors that become crucial in the process of shaping early childhood, thus contributing to overcoming the situation and de-dramatizing the problem through humor.

The representations of the characters and the locations 

21Throughout the episodes, the characters play different roles that are essential to order the course of the story, accompany or guide the initiatives of the main character and also contribute to the teaching of behaviors, norms, and social values. As expressed by Puiggròs, Pujol, and Holz (2005), cartoons become an easy and accessible resource for the audience, since thanks to their attractiveness and their affective imprint, they become an ideal vehicle for the transmission of cultural and educational values.

22In the case of Medialuna y las noches mágicas the characters are organized around the traditional dramatic scheme that includes the figures of good and evil. Among the good ones we can mention the main character, Medialuna, the mother and father, Begonia and Locoto, and their animal friends: the Iruya owl, the Yagua jaguar, the Chacabuco toad, and the Petunia lizard. For their part, the “bad guys” –who simultaneously manifest an awkward and/or humorous attitude– are represented in characters such as the Gualichu witch, Malicha, and the Ferucho dragon; such names act as elements that refer to indigenous cultures and the regions, customs and traditions of Argentina and Latin America. Thus, “Medialuna” could represent the island located in the province of Tierra del Fuego; Locoto –also known as “Rocoto” in Peru and Chile– is a spicy condiment commonly used in Bolivian and Argentine gastronomy; Iruya alludes to the town located in the province of Salta; Chacabuco refers to the city located in the northwest of the Province of Buenos Aires, designated in homage to the homonymous battle; Yagua refers to the jaguar, an autochthonous animal of the province of Misiones, but it is also the name of an indigenous people that live in Colombia and Peru; for its part, Petunia, is an indigenous flower of South America and Gualichu means “evil spirit or demon” in Mapuche mythology and Tehuelche culture. In this way, the television fictional story takes up the characteristic elements of the story, in general, and the children's story in particular, to place the spectator in Latin American geography, seeking to generate familiarity and closeness with it. Besides, the fact of resuming the discourse of the fable, for example, contributes to the installation of a certain idea of ​​harmony or coexistence between the animal kingdom and human beings (García and Núñez, 2016, p. 79).

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Figure 4. Medialuna and Chacabuco

Medialuna y las noches mágicas

23Among the elements that could generate a certain identification with indigenous cultures concerning the “tales of kingdoms and princesses”, we could stand out the type of clothing used by the characters that, simultaneously, allows them to be distinguished according to the functions that each of them complies. In this way, the Locoto family made up of the father, mother, and Medialuna uses sandals and clothing in a beige tone (dresses and tunics) and also accessories such as earrings, headbands, belts, necklaces, capes, and hats. On the other hand, those who fulfill the function of caring for or protecting the castle wear different clothing, in a darker tone and, in some cases, associated with the activity carried out, such as the chef's hat or the spears. and the shields that the knights carry to defend the kingdom. In turn, the “bad” characters, embodied in the figures of witches and sorceresses, wear large and colorful masks, wear earrings on different parts of their faces, exhibit long dark and gray hair, and resort to the use of magic wands and balls, glass as accessory elements.

24In turn, and following the proposals of Todorov (1970), the characters can be characterized according to the type of relationships they establish with others, through affection, confidence, and help. As a result of the spell, the affective relationship between Medialuna and their parents is somewhat particular since, in this first season, they do not have direct contact but almost always mediate by other characters. In each chapter, Locoto practices unsuccessful experiments to break the witch's spell, and during the nights, Begonia leaves gifts or flower arrangements for her daughter, so the little princess could see them when she wakes up.

25As stated above, the program seeks to deepen the image of a restless child, interested in the progressive acquisition of autonomy, whose characteristics are made visible in actions that involve “playing at night” and “sleeping during the day” or traveling through childhood as a child, independently without the strict presence of adults. However, we could point out that the representation of gender roles in some characters is somewhat stereotyped. By way of illustration, while the mother tends to appear as a slender and delicate woman who performs domestic or “minor” tasks, for example, cleaning, gardening, weaving, or doing crafts; the father, on the contrary, tends to be exhibited as a robust and shrewd man who designs experiments and appeals to scientific or rational knowledge.

26Another interesting relationship in this children's series is that of Medialuna and the Chacabuco toad. This animal operates through assistance or help, but it is also a character that, in pedagogical terms, acts as the voice of conscience or responsibility in the group, for example, every time the princess proposes to solve a riddle and wants to leave the palace to go to the forest. In this sense, beyond the child being exhibited with a certain independence, he may not be able to notice some danger, in which case, a character frequently appears -in this case, the Chacabuco toad- alerting him to possible risks and that encourages him to rethink his behaviors, actions, and decisions, in front of the rest of the other characters. Likewise, it is interesting to observe how the fictional story positively inverts the representation of the toad, assigning it benevolent attributes, to the detriment of evil aspects (Parra-Rozo, 2007).

27Finally, we are faced with another type of relationship that, as Todorov (1970) indicates, is related to communication or confidentiality and that could represent the link that Medialuna establishes with Petunia and the jaguar YaguaPetunia -an agile and elusive lizard- is always with the girl and tends to encourage her and accompany her on different adventures. Instead of being a character who appeals to responsibility, Petunia has a complicated relationship with the princess because she generally supports her in all her decisions. For his part, Yagua is a character who does not appear frequently in this first season, but when he does, he transmits tranquility and harmony, his features are fine and delicate, he speaks slowly and in a cordial tone, and is usually surrounded by light, auratic, followed by andean or puneña instrumental music. In her, Medialuna places all its trust when it is faced with a conflictive moment or when it wishes to start a dialogue.

28Through the different dialogic scenes, the fictional story seeks to build a communication model based, fundamentally, on the narration and not on the exposition of conceptual definitions, with which to encourage the child's sense of imagination. In the course of their images, the scenes represent a certain idea of ​​cultural and social diversity, through the knowledge of musical and ceremonial practices generated by different indigenous cultures in their relationship with mother earth, such as percussion and dance of the rain. By positioning themselves from the reception site, the use of this type of musical resources is also shown in tune with the perceptual experiences of early childhood, at which time the child focuses on the attention of rhythmic sounds, due to the appearance of movements related to manipulation, observation, and interaction with objects (Díaz, Bopp & Gamba, 2014).

29The objective of locating audiences in Latin American or national geography, through the presence of human and animal characters, is also carried out through the autochthonous representation of the environments. Indeed, the latter is divided between internal and external. The former is given a spacious, decorated, and colorful configuration, the walls are displayed in light tones and covered with ornaments such as fish, canteens, clay pots, floral wreaths, and paintings with drawings that show traits associated with indigenous culture. Also, there is a tendency to show natural elements, such as tropical fruits, vegetables, wheat, and some wooden logs. The latter are given abundant and diversified flora and fauna, distributed in green, violet, and blue colors, along with the presence of mountains, rivers, and regional trees. Viewed from the outside, the kingdom's castle exhibits architecture akin to Aztec pyramids, with a stepped temple-like design.

30Unlike Medialuna y las noches mágicas, the first season of Amigos has a restricted number of characters. Among the elementary schools, we find Santi, the main character of the series, a 4-year-old boy who has a shy and adventurous personality. The aforementioned shyness can be verified from the construction of traits that are directly related to the preverbal period in which it is found, such as the blurred mouth. For his part, Elbiz -Santi's invisible friend- is a sturdy and tall doll, who at times acts somewhat clumsily and reproduces “incorrect” manners (he tends to burp, brush his teeth with the toilet brush and eat stockings and corks). The secondary students are made up of the teacher Lucía, a young woman who transmits tranquility and understanding, Cintia and Martín, Santi's parents, who generally occupy roles of accompaniment and containment, and Pupu cosquillas, a doctor who is usually consulted on different occasions for the boy and his friend.

31According to Todorov's (1970) classifications, in Amigos, the relationships between the characters can be organized as follows: the bond between Santi and the parents is based on a structure that we could call affective. Among the daily activities that adults carry out, those that generally involve aspects of care or responsibility stand out to the detriment of those that involve fun or entertainment; we mean, taking the child to the garden or the doctor, preparing food, dressing him, waking him up in the morning and contributing to his daily cleanliness. In fact, both in the first and second seasons of this series, practically no scenes are recorded in which the child can be seen playing with his parents. In this sense, there is a point in common between Medialuna and Amigos concerning the representation of early childhood and that is to build certain differentiated life trajectories between boys and adults, even though a relationship of need is maintained between them or complementarity.

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Figure 5. Santi and Elbiz

Episode: Without wheels (Amigos)

32Another aspect that also relates the series to Medialuna is the somewhat stereotyped construction of gender roles: frequently, the mother is shown carrying out housework (for example, a prototypical shot is to show the woman from behind facing towards the allowance while cooking, and he is also the one who takes care of most of the child's time); on the contrary, the father is usually quite absent in the story and, when he appears, he is shown doing a reading or resting tasks.

33In Amigos, the relationship that we could associate with the other two categories that Todorov (1970) elaborates, that is, confidence and help, is that of Santi with Elbiz. Subsumed in a bond of solidarity and camaraderie, both characters have a relationship that is not only associated with complicity, play, and mischief, but also with collaboration, assistance, and dialogue. However, it is interesting to note that, as Santi grows, progresses, and gains confidence and security, on some occasions, it is the child who helps Elbiz to make some decisions.

34Being an imaginary friend, Elbiz symbolizes all the contradictions and fears that the child has regarding certain issues (for example, giving a vaccine, learning to sleep without light, dressing alone, brushing teeth correctly) but it also represents possible strategies that serve to face difficult situations, from the resource of humor, imagination, and fantasy. Accompanied by this figure –who operates simultaneously as a friend, but also as a teacher– the child expresses all their concerns and desires, generating a kind of identification with the same problems that child spectators might have. It can also be considered that the staging of the imaginary friend makes it possible to approach a symmetrical relationship, in which occasionally one of the main characters assumes the place of “not knowing” and another that of “knowing”.

35Unlike Medialuna, the locations used in the first season of Amigos refer to neighborhood scenarios, possibly located in a village. In general terms, the internal or external environments revolve around the homestay and the kindergarten. Among the external ones, those that show the front or the back of Santi's home, the open squares and streets with moderate vegetation, and the presence of low buildings that allow contextualizing the place where the child and the family live and that we could associate with some place in the Buenos Aires suburbs. Among the internees, they resort to the use of different scenes that refer to the interior of the home such as the bathroom, the kitchen, the room of the boy or the parents, and, sometimes, the kindergarten room.

36Although there are several locations, most of the time the story takes place in the child's room. There, Santi and Elbiz develop playful activities through the presence of fantasy. Possibly, with this idea, an attempt is made to reinforce the capacity for imagination when playing, and jointly, when learning different habits related to the first years of life. However, a common point that articulate Amigos with Medialuna is that the spaces are oriented towards the construction of native or traditional environments and the presence of technological artifacts that can also be associated with children's play is not recorded, such as, for example, use of tablets, computers, cell phones, consoles or televisions.

Music as a didactic resource in the fictional children´s story

37As we could imagine, music plays a fundamental role in the early childhood literacy process. From the first months of life, children use the instrument of the voice as an exploratory resource that encourages them to express themselves and interact with the environment. For this reason, through the emission of crying, screaming, gurgling, and babbling, the sound allows children not only to communicate their state of mind (namely, tiredness, hunger, fun, pain) but also to discover their voice and differentiate it from the rest. For this reason, children enter preschool with previous auditory experiences -such as the mother's voice and the noises produced by family members and the objects that surround him-, reason why kindergarten has the objective of expanding this musical repertoire experiences to contribute to the playful exploration and sound varieties (Aharonián, 2014).

38In the corpus selected for this research, we registered the presence of three music rules operation according to the didactic objective that it pursues: first, the repetition rules, second, the characterization rules, and, third, the association rules. Of course, musical resources, which can be translated into noises, limited silences, incidental music, and songs, are shown articulated with the verbal matter (the lyrics of the songs and/or the onomatopoeic expressions) and with the sequences of images that, in occasionally, they tend to demarcate a scenography away from the story, thus building a kind of “iconic-musical atmosphere” in which children carry out other types of interactions related to the body, namely, singing and dancing, as well as listening and visualization.

39In the first of the performances, it is possible to explain that songs are developed through the repetition rule. This type of mechanism will allow the child a gradual internalization of the word, to the extent that, during the sensory-motor stage, the imitation of sound develops in a more “impulsive” way, and later, during the pre-operational period, it will be associated with certain actions, until language acquisition is consolidated. In this way, through music and repetition, the child feels “challenged” to participate not only in the narration of the story but also in the musical experience, since the capacity for observation, listening and memory is promoted and, in short, phonological awareness (Arrebillaga & Atlasovich, 2016).

40The second of the functions of music operates through the characterization rule, which enables the construction of semantic consciousness (Arrebillaga and Atlasovich, 2016). In these cases, the presence of the musical letters collaborates with the teaching of qualifying adjectives that differentiate the bad characters (spots on the back, fire breath, pointed teeth) from the good ones (brave, funny, babbler). Another aspect that contributes to this differentiation is the use of the voice as a narrative instrument: while the bad characters resort to low tones, with a thickened texture to generate fear or distrust, the good ones, on the other hand, use rather high tones, with the base of a soft and delicate texture to install a certain idea of ​​tranquility and familiarity.

41Finally, the third of the functions is linked to the association rule, more specifically, we refer to the presence of assonance and consonant rhymes that link different words through the reiteration of their vowels. To generate an attentive listening in the child and that he is attracted by the sounds that the words generate, the rule of the association is based, fundamentally, on the poetic function of language (Jakobson, 1984), through the presence of resources such as rhymes, reiterations, and alliterations.

42As expressed by Díaz, Bopp, and Gamba (2014), music is not only a means of artistic expression but also an important pedagogical instrument that could have implications on the psychic, emotional and cognitive levels. From his listening, the child strengthens intelligence, to the extent that the handling of technical, logical, and aesthetic operations occurs simultaneously. For this reason, following Zapata, researchers warn that the educational objective in early childhood does not lie in teaching “knowledge” and/or “skills”, but rather in attending to the gradual learning processes of children, understanding it as a whole perceptual, cognitive and bodily.


43Throughout this paper, we analyze the discursive-pedagogical configurations of the first seasons of the programs Amigos and Medialuna y las noches mágicas that are dedicated to early childhood. The latter is characterized by the unfolding of the imagination, the intensification of the symbolic function, the development of spontaneous memory, the manifestation of egocentric behavior, and the appearance of intuitive thinking.

44The general proposal of the analyzed programs consists in making visible, on the one hand, some of the national and Latin American geographies, and on the other, teaching a set of problems that, in the early stage, can become conflictive or difficult to process for boys and girls of that age. Hence, both Medialuna and Amigos build a narrative and pedagogical scenario aimed at solving problems, overcoming obstacles, internal motivation, and interaction with the environment.

45In this type of program, narration tends to predominate over-explanation to adapt the information to the psychological, perceptual, and affective characteristics of the spectators. In general terms, both Medialuna and Amigos form a type of annunciator who, while showing a predisposition to make regions, practices, and national customs visible, is also concerned with teaching children to develop proactive attitudes and take initiatives; for his part, far from assuming a role marked by shyness or passivity, the addressee assumes a curious and restless character that leads him to want to interact with the environment, unravel mysteries and solve problems.

46From the route carried out, it is observed that the television fictional story aimed at early childhood promotes two substantial ideas: on the one hand, the children's signal aims to configure an audiovisual aesthetic that tends to claim cultural aspects of the Argentine and Latin American territory, through the deployment of different technical and linguistic elements that promote the development of a somewhat decentralized view. On the other hand, by contemplating the psychological, affective, and perceptual characteristics of the viewers, the television fictional story in Pakapaka elaborates different educational audiovisual strategies that facilitate the teaching and learning processes and incite a modality of attentive or close-up reception (Fuenzalida, 2016).

47Given that the animation proposal is part of a national and Latin American scenario, the programs analyzed present characteristics that are not related to the typical stimuli of the commercial industry, but to another class of interests, associated with citizenship, recognition of flora, and the Argentine fauna and the customs of the original peoples. In this sense, while taking into account the qualities, interests, and diverse problems that a child may have, it is also prepared for the future stage, with the criterion of designing a childhood pedagogy attentive to the training of subjects who display a more democratic, inclusive and egalitarian perspective.


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To quote this document

María Agustina Sabich, «An interdisciplinary analysis of the fictional television story on the argentine signal Pakapaka», French Journal For Media Research [online], Full texts/Numéros en texte intégral, 15/2021 Varia, last update the : 18/03/2021, URL :

Quelques mots à propos de :  María Agustina Sabich

Master in Communication and Culture (UBA), graduated in Social Communication. Assistant Professor of Media Semiotics at Universiy of Buenos Aires.

University of Buenos Aires



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