The Western Pacific is one of a few locations where gambling was almost wholly absent before colonisation. This presentation explores how processes of racialisation and gendering shaped the adoption of gambling by Islanders while indentured in places like Mackay in the late 19th Century and how this fed into the gambling culture in Papua New Guinea today. By centring issues of gender and race in economic activities, the paper disturbs the assumption that gambling becomes an inevitable once it is discovered.

About the presenter

Anthony Pickles is an anthropologist with 2 years’ experience in Papua New Guinea, where he has focused on issues of economic anthropology and social change. He has published on topics like psychometric testing, corruption, spreadsheets, pocket-use and economic anthropological theory, but his primary ethnographic interest is gambling in Papua New Guinea and beyond. Anthony is currently conducting full time ethnographic research on the worldwide community of political gamblers. His job is lecturer in Social Anthropology and International Development at the University of East Anglia.

About Anthropology Working Papers

The Working Papers in Anthropology seminar series provides a forum for dissemination of anthropological research and ideas among UQ scholars and invited researchers. All students are invited to attend the series and postgraduate students, from honours upwards, are invited to present their research. The aim is to provide opportunities for students, staff and those from outside UQ, to present and discuss their work in an informal environment.


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