Ethnography Of Gambling

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Ethnography of Gambling

Introduction to Ethnography

Ethnography is a scientific research strategy often used in the field of social sciences, particularly in anthropology and in some branches of sociology, also known as part of historical science that studies people, ethnic groups and other ethnic formations, their ethno-genesis, composition, resettlement, social welfare characteristics, as well as their material and spiritual culture (Michael, 2003, pp. 13-18). It is often employed for gathering empirical data on human societies and cultures. Data collection is often done through participant observation, interviews, questionnaires, etc. Ethnography objectives are to describe the nature of those who are studied (i.e. to describe a people, an ethnos) through writing.

Ethnography of Gambling

Ethnographic study of a society's games of chance can generate insight into that society's history, structure and culture. The ethno cultural analysis with his essential findings regarding the role of the wager in Balinese society, substantive point can be summarized thus: the cockfight was in essence a vehicle for displaying and affirming status honor (in the Weberian sense) among Balinese men (Alexander, 2004). The post-colonial government's futile attempts to eradicate it, meanwhile, symbolized for Geertz the (as of yet) incomplete encroachment of modern forms of authority upon the island. Yet the methodological insight of 'Deep Play' is more general: we can gain insight into a society's culture through careful ethnographic study of the concrete interpersonal situations in which its members wager, gamble and take risks. If we grant Geertz his assertion that Bali, in these initial years of independence from Dutch colonial rule, remained a social order structured around masculine status honor (and I will argue that the method of comparative ethnography outlined herein allows us to do so), may we not ask in turn of the role played by contests of chance in societies cleaved by other sorts of divisions. (Geertz, pp. 412-53)

Comparative ethnography, at its most basic, involves counter-posing fieldwork data collected at two sites in order to highlight and explain differences and/or similarities. One could of course argue that all ethnography is comparative insofar as the researcher is contrasting, if only implicitly, some 'foreign' social world with the home society of which he or she is a part. Systematic comparison of two or more sets of field data, however, requires a minimal amount of reflexivity concerning how one gathers these data and the categories used for description and analysis. The method of comparative ethnography is in this sense not only productive but prophylactic, insofar as it serves as a safeguard against importing into a research study one's own common sense assumptions about the social world - a particularly acute danger when one's purview is confined to but a single case (Wacquant, 2007). Comparative ethnography also provides a powerful 'warrant' for ethnographic research generally, by deflecting positivist claims that ethnographic data, no matter how thickly described, have minimal relevance beyond the local context from which they are extracted. (Crapanzano, pp. 51-76)

Ethnographic revisits of course require two data sources. For this article, materials on gambling in Bali were drawn from Clifford Geertz's ...
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