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Refiguring Self, Nation, and ‘Foreign’ through Lottery Scamming in Jamaica

Publication date: Jan 20, 2014 10:24:34 AM

Start: Jan 29, 2014 5:30:00 PM
End: Jan 29, 2014 7:00:00 PM

Location: UCL-Institute of the Americas, 51 Gordon Square, London, WC1H 0PN

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Jovan Scott Lewis (LSE) - Facing increasingly limited social and economic opportunity, lottery scamming in Montego Bay has become a highly controversial means by which St. James’ poor youth, through the use of communication technology, redress their restricted social mobility and create wealth, success, but more importantly create new notions of citizenship. This analysis begins with an exploration of the process of the scam and the specific communication technologies utilized. This is followed by examining the historical, socio-economic, and geopolitical rationale of the reparations framework mobilized by scammers to justify the practice. Finally, the paper discusses how the acquired wealth from scamming engenders scammers’ novel reinterpretations of their place in Jamaican society, obviating popular models of success and social mobility tied to migration, as the value of ‘foreign’ is diminished and Jamaica is re-imagined as a locus of opportunity and possibility.

Jovan Scott Lewis is recent visiting lecturer in Africana Studies at the University of Miami and final year PhD candidate in anthropology at the London School of Economics. His doctoral research focused on economic strategies and formations of citizenship in his hometown, Montego Bay, Jamaica. His research has been presented by request to the Jamaica Intellectual Property Office, Jamaica Customs Department, and Jamaica Bureau of Standards, and can be found in a forthcoming volume of the Journal of Latin American and Caribbean Anthropology.

Attendance is free of charge but registration is required.