By Gerda Reith
This interesting and vast examine, enlivened via interviews with British and American gamblers, should be captivating examining not only for these drawn to the cultural and social implications of playing - researchers in sociology, cultural reports and the historical past of principles - yet for somebody drawn to how we create that means in an more and more insecure global.
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Extra info for Age of Chance: Gambling in Western Culture (Routledge Studies in Social and Political Thought, Number 22)
The games themselves were not played in a vacuum: typical of their status as microcosms of society, their form and organisation reflected the values and inequalities of the culture that surrounded them. In other words, specific class alignments grew up around specific games, creating a stratified gambling network with, for example, lotteries patronised INTRODUCTION 11 mainly by the poor and with private clubs and casinos the prerogative of the upper classes. The gambling economy which emerged from these historical configurations is the subject of Chapter 3, where the economic and social constitution of each of the modern commercial ‘gambling sites’ is examined.
23)! Thus alongside a strict, providential determinism we find in the classical world an understanding and codification of chance which could have led to the beginnings of a more mature theory of probability. In philosophy and mathematics, the Greeks demonstrated the ability to develop further from these promising beginnings. Yet such a development never happened; the precocious understanding of combinations and randomness did not lead to what we now know as modern probability. Reasons for the absent family We can see how the nature of medieval epistemology precluded the serious consideration of probabilistic ideas.
In the second part of the book the focus shifts from the variety of specific games of chance to what they have in common; from the social framework of gambling to the experiences and beliefs of individual gamblers. In Chapter 1, the historical contingency of the notion of chance in modern thought is examined and its development from sacred to epistemological to ontological category traced. It is argued that after a lengthy period in which the operation of chance was denied and condemned as irreligious, in the seventeenth century a climate of increasing secularisation saw its gradual acceptance as a category in its own right and the emergence of the theory of probability to explain it.