Introduction: Gambling as analytic in Melanesia

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Abstract

© 2014 Oceania Publications. In Euro-American intellectual discourse gambling has become a metaphor for understanding social life, while in public life gambling is the subject of moralizing, medicalization, and gendered conflict over its status as leisure or vice. This introduction explores how one might approach the ways in which Melanesian peoples have comprehended their own worlds through gambling. I invite readers to consider our portrayals of indigenous ideas of 'what gambling is about' as alternative theorizations of gambling as a phenomenon. These theories of gambling are based upon cosmological premises that may appear unusual but which nevertheless intersect productively with Euro-American typologies of gambling and gamblers. To propagate this, my introduction first provides a brief history of gambling in Melanesia, and secondly places the special issue with respect to the relevant tropes in the sociology and anthropology of gambling, and the interdisciplinary field of gambling studies. A final section compares intersecting themes across the articles that together provide the basis of a collective intervention into gambling-related fields.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)207-221
Number of pages15
JournalOceania
Volume84
Issue number3
Early online date10 Nov 2014
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2014

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