'Buying Moments of Happiness': Luck, Time and Agency among Chinese Casino Players in London

Loussouarn, Claire. 2010. 'Buying Moments of Happiness': Luck, Time and Agency among Chinese Casino Players in London. Doctoral thesis, Goldsmiths, University of London [Thesis]

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Abstract or Description

This thesis explores how Chinese individuals experience social change as a result of migration and how this takes shape in the practice of casino gambling in the UK. In London, a high proportion of casino customers are of Chinese origin, especially in those casinos which are situated in the vicinity of Chinatown where I carried out fieldwork. In the thesis, the nature of this relationship is reconsidered as a mutual encounter against the political and economic background of the British gambling environment, a phenomenological description of gamblers’ actions when they are gambling and an examination of how migration is experienced by different individuals.

The aim is to challenge the perception of gambling as an irrational activity which presupposes a restricted conception of time, economic rationality and success. As such, this thesis focuses on Chinese gamblers’ ideas of luck, fate and greed and reflects on the different ideas of success that emerge from risk taking of various kinds including in business, through migration and last, but not least, in the casino. It demonstrates that the relationship between time and money cannot be assumed but must be reconsidered in situ through the way individuals create and experience different temporalities and rationalities via the circulation of money. The casino is a particularly illuminating place since the articulation of time and money is constructed in contrast with the notion of time discipline that dominates most other life rhythms. This means that even though the circulation of money and the flow of time may be suspended or slowed down in the aftermath of the migration journey, the space of the casino, with its contained spatiotemporality, still offers the opportunity to experience movement in a repeated and systematic manner.

To summarise, this thesis shows how Chinese people in London shape and re-shape their selves forming different temporalities and using various ways of exchanging money.

Item Type:

Thesis (Doctoral)

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8 July 2010

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Date Deposited:

02 Feb 2012 16:31

Last Modified:

08 Sep 2022 10:31



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