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Invisible Users Youth in the Internet Caf�s of Urban Ghana

ISBN-10: 0262017369

ISBN-13: 9780262017367

Edition: 2012

Authors: Jenna Burrell

List price: $36.00
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Description:

The urban youth frequenting the Internet cafes of Accra, Ghana, who are decidedly not members of their country's elite, use the Internet largely as a way to orchestrate encounters across distance and amass foreign ties--activities once limited to the wealthy, university-educated classes. The Internet, accessed on second-hand computers (castoffs from the United States and Europe), has become for these youths a means of enacting a more cosmopolitan self. In Invisible Users, Jenna Burrell offers a richly observed account of how these Internet enthusiasts have adopted, and adapted to their own priorities, a technological system that was not designed with them in mind. Burrell describes the material space of the urban Internet cafe and the virtual space of push and pull between young Ghanaians and the foreigners they encounter online; the region's famous 419 scam strategies and the rumors of "big gains" that fuel them; the influential role of churches and theories about how the supernatural operates through the network; and development rhetoric about digital technologies and the future viability of African Internet cafes in the region. Burrell, integrating concepts from science and technology studies and African studies with empirical findings from her own field work in Ghana, captures the interpretive flexibility of technology by users in the margins but also highlights how their invisibility puts limits on their full inclusion into a global network society.
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Book details

List price: $36.00
Copyright year: 2012
Publisher: MIT Press
Publication date: 5/4/2012
Binding: Hardcover
Pages: 248
Size: 6.25" wide x 9.25" long x 0.75" tall
Weight: 0.990
Language: English

Jenna Burrell is Assistant Professor in the School of Information at the University of California, Berkeley

Acknowledgments
Introduction
Interpreting Technology in the Peripheries
Weak and Strong Materiality in Cultural Accounts
Reconceiving Users in Global Technology Studies
Youth and the Indeterminate Space of the Internet Caf�
Immobility in a Mobile Age
On Method and the Internet Cafe as a Space of Traveling Through
Youth in Urban Ghana
Peer Groups in the Internet Cafe
The Deterritorialization of the Internet Cafe
Conclusion
Ghanaians Online and the Innovation of 419Scams
Breakdowns and Disillusionment in Online Cross-Cultural Encounters
The 419 Email Scam and Its Variants
Disembodiment and Gender Swapping as a Scam Strategy
Manipulating Representations of Africa for the Foreign Gaze
Conclusion
Rumor and the Morality of the Internet
Rumors as Accounts
A Typology of Rumors about the Internet in Urban Ghana
Rumors and the Construction of a Moral Order
Orality in Contemporary Urban and Digital Domains
Conclusion
Practical Metaphysics and the Efficacy of the Internet
A Brief History of Religious Movements in Ghana
The Internet and Technology in Church Sermons and Testimonials
Networking Christians and Christendom as a Network
Can Spiritual Entities Traverse Electronic Links?
Conclusion
Linking the Internet to Development at a World Summit
Arriving at the WSIS Regional Conference
Why Hold a World Summit on the Information Society?
Ventriloquism
Alliance Building
Conclusion
The Import of Secondhand Computers and the Dilemma of Electronic Waste
Strategies of Transnational Family Businesses in the Secondhand Electronics Trade
Electronic Waste Dumping and Further Dimensions of Marginality in Ghana
Conclusion
Becoming Visible
The Rise of Sakawa
On the Neutrality of the Network
Materiality and Marginalization
Notes
References
Index