Celebrating the Contingent: The Modern Lottery as Collective Representation in Late Capitalism

Authors

  • Jim Cosgrave Trent University

Keywords:

lotteries, Durkheim, collective representations, money, late capitalism.

Abstract

Lotteries have become the most popular form of gambling worldwide since (re-)legalization and expansion began in the 1960s and 70s. Lottery jackpots have increased significantly in national lotteries in the last twenty years, and large lottery jackpots stimulate greater ticket purchases. The discussion locates contemporary state lotteries in relation to economic structures and ideologies in which the state itself participates, while providing justification for the lottery form. The (re-)distributional and circulatory form of lotteries is theorized as in tension with (neo-)liberal economic ideology and an individualist imaginary. The analysis draws upon the work of Emile Durkheim and other classical sociologists. In particular, lotteries are treated as examples of what Durkheim termed “institutions” and “collective representations.”

Author Biography

Jim Cosgrave, Trent University

A

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Published

2021-07-01

Issue

Section

Articles