The time of our lives: Towards a temporal understanding of internet gambling

Abstract

Based on a study examining Internet gambling in the home this paper problematizes the current ubiquitous focus on the solitary, isolated gambler. It does so by considering the insights provided by a focus on how internet gambling practices and the internet gambler become seen as a ‘problem’. We argue that understanding such identity migration (from gambling to problem gambling; addict to non-addict; gambler to non-gambler) requires us to move beyond a focus on the individual, and consider how par- ticipants’ families contextualise and are re/produced in this reshaping of identities. In undertaking these analyses, we found that re-articulations of time were core to participants’ narratives which described shifting experiences of time, its expansion and its contraction in gambling; that meanings of ‘time’ were emotionally charged; and crucial in how problem gambling was addressed and resolved, within families. Finally, we consider how reshaping practices within and by families around their own and the gamblers’ identities explicitly depended on the temporal re-integration of the ‘addict’ into their family timescapes.

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