Age of Chance: Gambling in Western Culture (Routledge by Gerda Reith

By Gerda Reith

This interesting and vast research, enlivened by way of interviews with British and American gamblers, might be mesmerizing interpreting not only for these drawn to the cultural and social implications of playing - researchers in sociology, cultural experiences and the heritage of principles - yet for a person drawn to how we create which means in an more and more insecure global.

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Extra resources for Age of Chance: Gambling in Western Culture (Routledge Studies in Social and Political Thought, Number 22)

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This theme runs through the work of all the probabilists, in one form or another, from Huygens and Montmort to Bernoulli and de Moivre (Gigerenzer et al. 1989; see also Daston 1988). In his Essai D’Analyse (1708) Montmort defined le hasard as an index of human ignorance, a manifestation of the workings of the Creator: Strictly speaking nothing depends on chance. When one studies nature one is soon convinced that its Author acts in a general and uniform way which bears the stamp of an infinite wisdom and prescience…all things are regulated according to certain laws of which usually the order is not known to us….

It was also during this period of general socioeconomic upheaval that the meaning of securitas changed from the expression of a subjective state of freedom from care to an objective sense of sureté, later securité, in French (Luhmann 1993, p. 13). ’ The idea that fate or providence would oversee the unfolding of events could no longer provide sufficient assurance to those whose goods might be at stake in trading situations. Individuals were beginning to feel the need to take matters into their own hands and to make practical, active efforts to ensure their security.

987). In this new capitalising economy, as trade expanded into a system of international exchange, enumeration and accountancy became vital. The tentative, numerical development which had seen the beginnings of a form of Renaissance statistics continued with renewed vigour under the dynamic of nascent capitalist enterprise. The risking of money in speculative ventures encouraged the accurate calculation of many variables: for instance, the value of the goods invested, the quantities of time and space involved in their transportation, the amounts of money exchanged and any interest charged on the transactions.

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