Science on YouTube: Legitimation Strategies of Brazilian Science YouTubers

Authors : Natália Martins Flore, Priscila Muniz de Medeiros

This study analyzes the legitimation strategies displayed by YouTubers of the 10 most popular science channels regarding YouTube Brazil. Using Discourse Analysis from a French perspective, it unfolds the ethos of the YouTuber, the preferred discursive scenographies, and kinds of contents and discursive approaches of these channels.

The results show the predominant presence of didactic scenography, followed by commentary, scientist-in-action, and journalist scenographies. They unfold themselves in monologue, questions and answers, live experiments, whiteboard videos and short documentary subgenres.

The discursive ethos presents the YouTuber as an informed person who has knowledge on science subjects, teaching them to his audience or commenting on a certain theme or topic. Legitimation strategies come from personal experiences and rarely from a scientist’s identity, despite the YouTuber may use scientific authority in some cases.

The use of humor in enunciations and video editing, the reference to pop culture, and the use of an informal language, show the tendency that these channels have in presenting scientific themes in a soft and interesting way.