Gerda Reith, Ph.D.
Professor, School of Social and Political Sciences, University of Glasgow (Great Britain)
Gerda Reith is a Professor of Social Science at the University of Glasgow, U.K. Her research focuses on the impact of social and environmental factors on gambling, and on their implications for public health and policy. She has carried out a number of Research-Council funded studies of these issues, most recently a five year longitudinal qualitative study of ‘gambling careers’ and trajectories. Ongoing projects include explorations of the role of crime, debt, social exclusion and resilience on the development of gambling problems and recovery, as well as other risky behaviours over time, and their impacts on individuals as well as their wider social networks.
She has written extensively on the empirical and theoretical issues around these topics, and her book, The Age of Chance: Gambling in Western Culture, won the Philip Abrams Prize for the best book in sociology for 2000.
She sits on the editorial boards of a number of Journals (including International Gambling studies, Journal of Youth Studies and Risk Management), and has advised national and international governments and organisations on issues related to gambling and public health.
This talk draws on Castells’ (1996) notion of techno-economic systems to explore the ways that intersections between technology, capital and states have created new types of intensified gambling environments. In it, I briefly examine the relation of the neoliberal state to gambling revenue and (de)regulation, as well as the role of technology in the generation and acceleration of the gambling economy. I argue that such developments produce environments of increasingly dematerialised, intensive consumption, which in turn illuminate aspects of the wider global economy of finance capital.
The discussion then moves on to locate the recent growth of mobile and social forms of gambling within these environments. In particular, I focus on some of the key trends in technology and marketing that are driving this ‘new frontier’ of commercial gambling. These include features such as the deployment of geolocational and data tracking technologies, the increasing personalisation and targeting of advertising, as well as strategies that work to harness the power of online social networks. These bring what I describe as ‘turbo charged’ features to mobile and social gambling, making it a key site of intensified and dematerialised consumption within techno economic systems.