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17:30 - 19:30 29 January 2014

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


Lecture Theatre 103 | Institute of the Americas (link Map)
51 Gordon Square | London | WC1H 0PN | United Kingdom

Open to: Academic | Alumni | Public | Student
Admission: Free
Ticketing: Pre-booking essential

Speaker information

Jovan Scott Lewis, is recent visiting lecturer in Africana Studies at the University of Miami and final year PhD candidate in anthropology at the LSE. 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.

Jovan Scott Lewis discusses the increasingly limited social economic opportunity and lottery scamming in Montego Bay. It 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.


Oscar Martinez
+44 (0)20 3108 9721 | ucl-ia@ucl.ac.uk


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