Embedded Addiction: The Social Production of Gambling Knowledge and the Development of Gambling Markets

James F. Cosgrave


This paper discusses features of the development of gambling markets, particularly the production of gambling knowledges that interact with and contribute to the constitution of these markets. While gambling expansion is predicated on the provision of “entertainment,” and where gambling is marketed as the consumption of safe risks, there is also the possibility of risky consumption and the production of problem gamblers. The paper discusses the knowledge produced around the figure of the problem gambler, and how the figure has been productive in terms of institutional developments. The risks posed by the problematic gambler (e.g. to state-owned gambling enterprises) must be “solved” in order to enable the legitimization of markets and the ongoing quest for profits/revenues. The paper analyzes knowledge production by situating this production in relation to contemporary sociological orientations to consumption and risk in late modernity.


gambling; knowledge; consumption; risk; addiction

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