In this response essay, the author returns to his arguments in Scammer’s Yard: The Crime of Black Repair in Jamaica (2020) to further consider the limits of repair as advanced by the book’s crew of Jamaican lottery scammers. The author reconsiders some of the arguments to examine more deeply the issues of respectability, violence, and refusal, doing so in conversation with Patricia Noxolo, Beverley Mullings, and Kevon Rhiney—Caribbean and Caribbeanist geographers who help explore the scam as representative of repair within Jamaica’s violent, impoverished, and seemingly inescapable circumstances. Further analyzing the possibility of repair as advanced by the scammers, the essay identifies and contests the normative terms of politics that complicate those reparative claims, arguing that the scam moves past the politics of social incorporation and resistance in Jamaica and instead represents a form of political suspension that avoids the reconciliation of respectability and refusal typical of Caribbean postcolonial social production.
The Limits of Repair
Jovan Scott Lewis is associate professor in and chair of the Department of Geography at the University of California, Berkeley. His research examines the questions of racial capitalism, underdevelopment, and repair. He is author of Scammer’s Yard: The Crime of Black Repair in Jamaica (2020). His book on the consequences of the 1921 Tulsa race massacre, Violent Utopia: Dispossession and Restoration in Tulsa, is forthcoming.
Jovan Scott Lewis; The Limits of Repair. Small Axe 1 March 2022; 26 (1 (67)): 191–204. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/07990537-9724205
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