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Title: The changing face of gambling : an investigation of serious leisure horserace gamblers
Author: Blackshaw, Siobhan
ISNI:       0000 0004 7224 3829
Awarding Body: Sheffield Hallam University
Current Institution: Sheffield Hallam University
Date of Award: 2016
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Gambling has received considerable academic attention from a range of disciplinary directions but to date has been dominated by a paradigm that places overriding emphasis on individuals and addiction and pathological studies. This thesis takes this area of study in another direction by focusing its attention on gambling as a leisure activity which is organized and formed through social relationships and shared knowledgeability. Using as its starting point the serious leisure perspective the thesis critically explores the leisure field of horserace gambling. Bringing attention to the pervasive societal influence of neoliberal ideology, the shift from producer capitalism to consumer capitalism and major developments in digital technology, the thesis uncovers how serious leisure horserace gambling is constituted, reconfiguring the study of it in processual terms, beyond the limits of the serious leisure perspective, as a duality which involves a backstage 'work' side and a front stage 'leisure' side. These terms offer both broader and more precise ways of speaking about the specificity of serious leisure horserace gamblers' practices and experiences of occupying social space. With this in mind, the thesis uses a combination of research techniques grounded in an ethnographic investigation which include direct observation, participant observation and semi-structured interviews, with 9 participants from West Yorkshire in the UK, to explore the ways in which they situate themselves as serious leisure horserace gamblers. The thesis excavates how this serious leisure practice is produced and reproduced, reflecting the opportunities offered by consumer culture and digital technology. By adopting this nuanced perspective of serious leisure which is more complex than existing discussions suggest, and by proposing a new understanding of leisure gambling in the light of a recommodified betting market, this thesis offers challenging and instructive insights into the possibilities of freedom and self-expression in vocational leisure when it is shaped by consumerism.
Supervisor: Shibli, Simon ; Fielding-Lloyd, Beth ; Woodhouse, Donna Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available