The writer and semiologist Jesus Martin-Barbero It has been a source of consultation for several decades when it comes to talking about communication theory. This Saturday, at the age of 83, the thinker and professor died in the city of Cali, in Colombia, where he had settled.
Sources close to Martín-Barbero announced his death through social networks. “A unique and indispensable thinker who marked several generations, not only in the field of communication,” wrote the Argentine theorist Carlos Scolari on his Twitter account.
Martín-Barbero was considered an expert in communications, media and semiotics. He was the author of important theoretical syntheses in Latin America on postmodernity. “From the media to mediations: communication, culture and hegemony”, the work published in 1987, is a source of consultation that rethinks and questions the work of the media in the globalized world.
He was born in Cardeñosa, a Spanish community near Ávila, on October 3, 1937. He was the youngest of a family of six children. His birth occurred just a year after the start of the Spanish Civil War.
Since 1963 he settled in Cali, where he founded the Faculty of Social Communication at the Universidad del Valle. Among other remembered books are “Discourse and Power”, “Television and Melodrama”, “Night Maps and Pre-texts: conversations about communication and its contexts” and “Mass Communication”.
He was a Doctor of Philosophy, an anthropologist, a semiologist, and an expert in cultural research, and he gave a total turn to the study of communication, the media and their audiences, until he delved into issues such as identity and culture.
He was president of ALAIC (Latin American Association of Communication Researchers) and member of the Advisory Committee of FELAFACS (Latin American Federation of Faculties of Social Communication).
In addition to teaching in Colombia and Mexico, he was a visiting professor at the Complutense Universities of Madrid, Autónoma de Barcelona, Stanford, Libre de Berlín, King’s College of London, Puerto Rico, San Pablo and Lima. In Argentina he was distinguished as an Honorary Professor at the University of La Plata and received the title of Doctor Honoris Causa from the universities of Cuyo and Rosario.
“In this process, imaginaries are globalized, and television is the medium with the greatest capacity to originate them. Imaginaries are very important for most people because they allow them to dream,” was one of the many famous phrases that Barbero left behind.
Historians study history from back to front, children, adolescents and young people study it from its present. For history to become the memory of the boys, it is necessary to start from their present. You have to put the present in history, that has never been done by the school.