Gambling in Europe: an anthropological approach

Rebecca Cassidy, Claire Loussouarn

Abstract


In this paper, I will present the Gambling in Europe Research project which is funded by the European Research Council and highlight its innovative anthropological approach to the study of gambling as a social and cultural activity. The project explores how regulations and technologies are framing a diversity of gambling products and behaviours across geographical, legal, historical and conceptual boundaries. Within the field of gambling studies, the impact of regulations and technologies has been underexplored in comparison with the focus on quantifying and categorizing gamblers and gambling activities within national boundaries. The project addresses this lacuna in studies on gambling. For its approach, it uses anthropological methods which are locally sensitive to cultural factors and the way that particular gambling activities are shaped distinctly throughout Europe. The variety of social contexts is highlighted through the study of four distinctive case studies that are being combined and compared systematically: the gambling industry based upon mobile technologies in the UK, the British spread betting industry, casinos and Italian players in Slovenia and land-based Raditional? Casinos located in Cyprus. The project? Ambition is therefore to propose new avenues to conceptualise gambling which diverge from more traditional lines of research that focus on gambling as an individual pathology. Thus the project aims to capture the dynamism and internationalism of the gambling industry in Europe today by exploring fresh approaches to a well understood subject.

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