Desire and the consumption of danger: Electronic gaming machines and the commodification of interiority


This article brings together disparate elements of commercialized mass gambling, briefly describing the consumption of local gambling using electronic gaming machines (EGMs) in the Australian state of Victoria, particularly its capital, Melbourne. It also reports on the fieldwork research involving conversations with 62 self-identified EGM 'problem gamblers'. The article brings the empirical material produced by analysis of data and discussions into conversation with the social theory of Cornelius Castoriadis and others in order to explain some aspects of the rapidly developing social institution of commercialised mass gambling. The article seeks to 'dig into' the heart of the gambling transaction, as an act of dangerous consumption, in order to pursue understanding of the significance that this holds for the social individual, and for understanding of the role of desire in the commodification of the interiority of the subject, which, it is argued, lies at the core of dangerous consumptions.

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