The book adopts a critical cultural studies lens to explore the entanglement of government and gambling in everyday life. Its qualitative approach to gambling creates a new theoretical framework for understanding the most urgent questions raised by research and policy on gambling.
In the past two decades, gambling industries have experienced exponential growth with annual global expenditure worth approximately 300 billion dollars. Yet most academic research on gambling is concentrated on problem gambling and conducted within the psychological sciences. Nicoll considers gambling at a moment when its integration within everyday cultural spaces, moments, and products is unprecedented. This is the first interdisciplinary cultural study of gambling in everyday life and develops critical and empirical methods that capture the ubiquitous presence of gambling in work, investment and play. This book also contributes to the growing cultural studies literature on video and mobile gaming. In addition to original case studies of gambling moments and spaces, in-depth interviews and participant observations provide readers with an insider's view of gambling.
Advanced students of sociology, cultural theory, and political science, academic researchers in the field of gambling studies will find this an original and useful text for understanding the cultural and political work of gambling industries in liberal societies.
Dr Fiona Nicoll is an Associate Professor at the University of Alberta where she holds a research chair in gambling policy in the Department of Political Science. The author of Diggers to Drag Queens: Configurations of Twentieth Century National Identity (Pluto Press, 2001) and founding member of the Australian Critical Race and Whiteness Studies Association, she is co-editor of Transnational Whiteness Matters (Lexington Press, 2008) and Courting Blakness: Recalibrating Knowledge in the Sandstone University (University of Queensland Press, 2015).
Introduction 1. The Problem with "the Problem Gambler" 2. Cultural Spaces of Gambling 3. Cultural Moments of Gambling 4. Cultural Products of Gambling 5. Governing Gambling Conclusion
"From the poker machines that have colonised our spaces of recreation and solitude to the casinos that are monopolising the prime real estate and waterfronts of our cities and multiplying in remote desert locations, and from the spruikers on television pushing sports betting to the scratch lottery tickets bought at the check-out in the supermarket - gambling is now a thoroughly normalised feature of daily life. The lure to take a punt, have a flutter and make a bet is never far away, whether it's the sweepstakes in the workplace or a game of online poker. This book explores this new landscape, focusing on the all pervasive moments, spaces and products of gambling today. It provides an important cultural study of gambling as a form of play, a technology of power, and as a cultural practice that brings the stakes of winning and losing into more and more aspects of everyday life."-Fiona Allon, Department of Gender and Cultural Studies, University of Sydney. Australia