“Toward a Sociological Analysis of Pathological Gambling”
Joseph A. Scimecca

The academic study of gambling began in the United States in the 1950s with an emphasis on the psychoanalytical approach – gambling was considered a mental illness, a compulsion. In the 960s and 1970s, sociologists began to look at gambling as a social problem, but this approach did not gain much traction in changing the psychoanalytical view of gambling’s acceptance by the mental health community as well as by the general public. In the ensuing decades, the study of gambling behavior has shifted to a genetic approach, with genes being held responsible for what is now referred to as pathological gambling (PG). This change is reflected in the most recent iteration of the American Psychiatric Association’s bible, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DMS-5), which places PG within the category of “Substance-Related and Addictive Disorders.” In this article, an alternative viewing of gambling is offered, one that sees gambling as more of a cultural phenomenon, a result of capitalism’s emphasis on competition, and blaming the victim for not succeeding, than as an addiction.

Full Text: PDF     DOI: 10.15640/jssw.v3n1a1