University of Cambridge > > Wolfson College Humanities Society talks > *CANCELLED* Economic Transformation and the Proliferation of Gambling in the Western Pacific

*CANCELLED* Economic Transformation and the Proliferation of Gambling in the Western Pacific

Add to your list(s) Download to your calendar using vCal

  • UserDr Anthony Pickles, Bye-Fellow, Wolfson College, and British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Social Anthropology, Cambridge
  • ClockTuesday 28 May 2019, 17:45-19:15
  • HouseGatsby Room, Wolfson College.

If you have a question about this talk, please contact Dr Anthony Pickles.


The pre-colonial economies of the Western Pacific are famous for their emphasis on reciprocity. Gambling is axiomatically not reciprocal; it stipulates that winners don’t owe a debt to losers, and gambling was completely absent from the region before European contact. However, once introduced, gambling games were both enthusiastically adopted and dramatically transformed to reflect the thoughts of Islanders experiencing intense upheaval. This paper investigates the rising tide of gambling through a combination of source materials. I track gambling in Papua New Guinea in four decades (1931-1971) during which it went from a practice peculiar to Islanders who were in regular contact with Europeans to a staple of village life and a recognisably Papua New Guinean activity with a common set of rules. During the same period gambling also transformed from an all-male, high prestige activity to one of the few transactions that could be carried out freely across genders. Through an exploration of this not-so-unique phenomenon, the paper interrogates how economic transformation is perceived and repurposed by people on the capitalist periphery.

This talk is part of the Wolfson College Humanities Society talks series.

Tell a friend about this talk:

This talk is included in these lists:

Note that ex-directory lists are not shown.


© 2006-2024, University of Cambridge. Contact Us | Help and Documentation | Privacy and Publicity