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African FuturesEssays on Crisis, Emergence, and Possibility$
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Brian Goldstone and Juan Obarrio

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780226402246

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226402413.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 05 July 2022

Hedging the Future

Hedging the Future

(p.104) Eight Hedging the Future
African Futures

Charles Piot

University of Chicago Press

The post-Cold War dispensation in Togo – state pullback, the privatization of common property, class consolidation, NGO-ization, the dramatic spread of charismatic Christianity – has remade social and political fields, and ushered in new sovereignties, biopolitical regimes, and temporalities. It has also spawned a near-universal desire for exile. This chapter explores the new moment through the immensely popular practice of Togolese applying for, and attempting to game, the US green card lottery. Examining the ins and outs of visa lottery logic, the paper also positions “lotto visa” within a larger field of state-sponsored lotteries, Ponzi schemes, micro-finance initiatives, and gifts to God that have swept the cultural field over the past ten years – and that attempt to hedge the present against an unknown future.

Keywords:   visa lottery, sovereingnty, migration, biopolitics, Ponzi schemes, visas

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