AbstractsComputer Science

Developing Mediators: An Analysis of the Changing Associations of Ghanaian Internet Cafe Users between 2003 and 2014

by Matthew Gregory LeBlanc

Institution: Louisiana State University
Year: 2016
Keywords: Internet; Internet Cafe; Cybercafe; Development; Africa; Digital Divide; Actor-Network Theory
Posted: 02/05/2017
Record ID: 2068787
Full text PDF: http://etd.lsu.edu/docs/available/etd-05192016-172949/


This study examines interview data gathered a decade apart, in 2003 and in 2014.The analysis answers the questions: 'How were café patrons using the Internet in 2003 and how do the 2003 findings of this study compare to the findings of other studies conducted around the same time?' 'How has Internet usage changed between 2003 and 2014?' 'How has the Internet café business changed over the last decade?' This study starts by reviewing the theory and literature which informs studies of the Internet and Internet cafés in developing countries. Two years were spent discovering the fate of the 2003 locations. The data that were used for analysis were gathered at these locations, or their 'walking distance equivalents,' using ethnographic interviews. An argument is made that the Internet can either be a Black-box or a Quasi-actant in an Actor-network account, depending on how the subject frames its influence. The study then compares the findings from 2003 to the findings presented in Invisible Users, another study of Ghana's Internet cafés conducted in 2005(Burrell 2011).This study makes the argument that Invisible Users were only one of many different types of café users. It is also argued that pornography played a multi-faceted role in the narratives of café patrons. Differences and similarities in both patron usage and the café business itself, between 2003 and 2014 are discussed Finally, this study concludes by presenting an actor-network description of the flow of action for both the café business and café patrons by using the first three 'uncertainties' identified in Reassembling the Social (Latour 2007). Advisors/Committee Members: Shrum, Wesley (chair), Weil, Frederick (committee member), Schafer, Mark (committee member), Goldstein, Elias (committee member).