Understanding Gambling From a Social Practice Perspective

Gambling involves wagering something of value on an event that is random, with the intent of winning some else of value. It is an activity that can be played individually or with others in a public or private setting, and can include activities such as playing card games or dice games with friends, placing a bet on the outcome of a sporting event such as a football game or horse race with coworkers, or engaging in commercial gambling at casinos and other venues. It can also involve skillful play that increases the chances of winning (e.g., knowing when to fold a hand in poker, or betting on horses with knowledge of the odds of winning).

Social practice theory suggests that understandings of gambling can be enriched by considering it as an activity that is both shaped and shaped by its environment and culture. Such a perspective is particularly important in light of the dynamic nature of gambling, which has become more widespread and accessible as governments have liberalised their gaming regulations and markets and embraced neoliberal economic principles.

This has led to increased participation in gambling, and the development of an industry that provides state tax revenue, jobs, consumer spending, and social and cultural capital, and which is increasingly regulated by international conventions on marketing and advertising practices. It has also changed how we understand pathological gambling, and resulted in a more expansive characterization of its symptoms in the diagnostic criteria of the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.

Posted in: Gambling