Public lecture, "Cybercrime from Below: Ghanaian Youth, Internet and the Occult in Times of Dramatic Social Changes"
A talk by Thomas Perrot, Ph.D. candidate at Paris 8 University (Cemti) and visiting researcher at the Department of Communication, University of Massachusetts Amherst
Friday, April 26th
12:20 to 1:15
Room E35, Machmer Hall
University of Massachusetts Amherst
On the 12th of March 2010, the FBI Internet Crime Complaint Centre's (IC3's) released statistics in its annual report: despite much lower ICT penetration rates than in the US or in the UK, four African countries appeared to be part of the Top 10 of the most active countries in cybercrime (Nigeria, Ghana, South Africa, and Cameroon). What do these statistics mean? What's behind them? Drawing on material collected during a recent eight-month period of ethnographic fieldwork in a middle-sized city in southern Ghana, Perrot argues that, to be fully understood, cybercrime has to be de-exceptionalized and seen as a phenomenon truly embedded within society. In an increasingly globalized Ghana characterized by poverty and uncertainty, Perrot shows how cybercrime is at the same time and compellingly framed by rising social inequalities, local representations of power and wealth, dynamics of access to the Internet (ICT policies and technology development), and finally by occult practices and the growing weight of Pentecostal churches in social life.
Friday, April 26, 2013 - 12:15pm to 1:15pm