SSC Seminar Series: Martin French, Concordia University

Player (Self) Tracking: Responsible Gaming in the Digital Era

Martin French, Concordia University

Wednesday, November 30 

12:30 - 2:00pm, MacCorry Room D411 (Sociology Lounge)

This presentation outlines a new project, situated at the intersection of risk studies, surveillance studies, game studies and gambling studies. Responsible gaming can be conceptualized as a late-modern governance strategy designed to regulate harms associated with institutionalization of gambling. It emerged in the 20th century in conjunction with, on the one hand, the widespread decriminalization of gambling and, on the other hand, the efforts of states to tax and even monopolize gambling-generated revenues. Articulated initially with respect to gambling-related harms associated with casino gambling, the concept of responsible gaming has evolved as gambling-like forms of play have—in the digital era—transcended the casino walls, and have begun to appear in diverse spaces of everyday life. This presentation discusses digitized gambling and gaming, focusing on a few examples of digital player tracking. It considers the relation of these tracking tools to the logic of responsible gaming, and to broader processes of responsibilization in neoliberal times.

About the Speaker

Dr. Martin French is an Assistant Professor with the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Concordia University, in Montréal, Canada. His research program concentrates on the social dimensions of technology with an empirical focus on communications & information technology (CIT). He is completing a book-manuscript on the circuits of information linking the public health and criminal justice systems, and he is embarking on a new project examining the ways that forms of so-called risky consumption are tracked and mediated by surveillance.

Everyone welcome!