Small Axe: Black Repair and Questions of Sovereignty

SCAMMER'S YARD elegantly argues that the Jamaican lottery scammers in Montego Bay subversively mobilize the logic and apparatus of racial capitalism in order to enact reparative seizure by defrauding elderly White Americans.

Tells the story of Jamaican “scammers” who use crime to gain autonomy, opportunity, and repair

[In Scammer's Yard] Lewis, therefore, perceptively elaborates on the scam as a paradox—it relies on the performance of technical legitimacy acquired through call center work in order to generate illicit wealth. To evince this claim, Lewis discusses the scammers’ participation in the intimate labor of customer care as a way to con victims. He demonstrates how granular negotiations of sovereignty produce complex gendered relations that complicate our understanding of Jamaican heteromasculinities in the contemporary moment... Lewis incisively reframes the scammers’ postcolonial moment as satirical: rather than having negative attachments to earlier anticolonial and postcolonial attempts to achieve autonomous and respectable nationhood, the scammers’ mimicry of legitimacy underscores the deficiencies of these strategies and even those of the very goal itself.

Read the full review at Small Axe.