Beyond social control: Prevalence research and the uses of expert knowledge


Comments on an article by Martin Young (see record 2012-34511-001). Given the predominance of the "psy" sciences in the gambling studies field, more theorizing of the kind that Young has done is sorely needed. Importantly, Young points to the role of researchers in creating the social construct of "problem gambler" as part of the larger transfer of risk from governments and industries to individual consumers. However, we question what seems to be his view of prevalence research as a tool of legitimation and nothing more. As we have argued elsewhere, the gambling research arena suffers from at least two fundamental weaknesses; first, the lack of a constructionist perspective, which has led researchers to neglect the symbolic power of the problem gambling construct, and second, the lack of a structural perspective, which has led researchers to neglect the role of historical, economic and political forces in the legalization of gambling. This latter, structural perspective is not fully articulated by Young. To complement his focus on pathological gambling prevalence survey (PGPS), we believe it is essential to "follow the money" and investigate the social origins and destinations of the wealth that flows into and out of the legalized gambling arena. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2013 APA, all rights reserved)

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