Merel van 't Wout
Merel van ‘t Wout is a lecturer at the Institute of Cultural Anthropology and Development Sociology of Leiden University and a PhD Candidate at the African Studies Centre of Leiden University. She teaches the BSc-course Anthropology and Sociology of Sub-Saharan Africa and co-teaches the BSc course Social Theories. In addition, she supervises BSc theses and tutorial groups. Merel has a visiting PhD fellowship at the Center of African Studies of Copenhagen University, where she spends part of her time.
In her work, Merel explores the lifeworlds of young online scammers - 'gameboys' - in Tamale, a secondary city in Northern Ghana. Widespread unemployment, a rejection of 'hand-to-mouth' jobs and the possibilities of new technology offered these boys-from-the-1990s new ideas about their productive potential. From disadvantaged backgrounds, these young men have little faith that their sub optimal education will lead them to a better life. Accordingly, they choose to use their skills differently: through online scamming practices they aim to gain a position of respect and recognition- among peers and in society at large.
Merel uses the stories, experiences and interpretations of young gameboys as a lens to look at the social transitions that are taking place in Tamale. The various ways in which these boys clash and conform with more traditional power structures, and the ways how groups of young men build their own social and financial empires continues to surprise and fascinate her.
In 2014 Merel graduated (Cum Laude) for her research master at the University of Groningen. She undertook research on the interplay - and deep mismatch - between the lifeworlds of young seamstresses in the town of Bolgatanga (Ghana), the NGOs that offer them entrepreneurial training, and the discourse that celebrates female entrepreneurship as an empowering development strategy.
- Faculteit der Sociale Wetenschappen
- Culturele Antropologie/ Ontw. Sociologie
No relevant ancillary activities