The new African-Asian interactions are also opening up new opportunities for African and Asian scammers (419 Advance Fee Fraud). The project studies these transregional interactions in cyberspace between scammers and their counterparts. Based on ethnographic research in Ghana and India, the project asks how scammers make use and thereby transgress boundaries between continents and between physical and virtual spaces. However, the project also studies how police officers and other actors aim to set new boundaries in transregional spaces and authenticate virtual identities.
African scammers often use the image of the African other in their emails. Virtual identities derive their authenticity from such references to images of the cultural other – the abundant gold or the willing African mistress. Actors use such images of the cultural other as supposedly objective orientation, thus scammers can refer to them to create compelling narratives. By researching interaction in cyberspace, the project maps these imaginary spaces of the cultural other.
By using conventional images of the cultural other and the supposed authenticity in their fraudulent narratives, scammers ultimately undermine these forms of orientations. Their transgressions lead to radical uncertainties concerning transregional and virtual spaces. Some actors seek new methods to authenticate their counterpart in cyberspace. Still, police officers and other state officials try to re-establish bureaucratic categories of identity and set new boundaries.