Berkman Center for Internet & Society
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Jenna Burrell on Invisible Users: Youth in the Internet Cafes of Urban Ghana

Ghana, a small country on the Gulf of Guinea in West Africa, is the size of Oregon. Its entire population is only double that of New York City. Yet what is unfolding there matters to the future of the Internet.

In this talk, Jenna Burrell — Assistant Professor in the School of Information at UC Berkeley — draws from a 6-year period of ethnographic research (2004-2010) on youth in Accra’s Internet cafes — where the primary activity was cultivating relationships with foreigners in chat rooms and dating sites as these users sought to enact a more cosmopolitan self — and considers how network security and network administration are shaped not simply by an impersonal technical logic or even commercial interests, but also by cultural biases and parochialism that violate, perhaps unwittingly, these early ideals of the Internet.


12 Feb 2013

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Last updated

January 31, 2015