How do we know what we know? Epistemic tensions in social and cultural research on gambling 1980-2000


  • Virginia M. McGowan University of Lethbridge, Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada E-mail: <email xlink:href=""></email>



gambling, systematic review, social, cultural, epistemic, paradigm


This project seeks to answer the question, how do we know what we know about gambling? With reference to a systematic review of the gambling research literature that addresses social and cultural topics and issues, this paper explores the epistemic cultures that created and gave authority to knowledge about gambling presented in scholarly research published between 1980 and 2000. From small beginnings in the 1980s, scholarly research in this area exploded during the 1990s and was dominated by surveys describing the distribution of problem and pathological forms. The trend in gambling research is towards an increasingly narrow range of topics, focused on pathology, and curiously disengaged from advances in contemporary social theory. The paper concludes with a plea for nuanced, politically engaged, and culturally informed gambling research grounded in the social, cultural, historical, and everyday contexts in which gambling is embedded.






Original Article