"In the absence of chance: Play and economy at the Delhi racecourse"

Religious Diversity Colloquium Spring 2014

  • Date: May 20, 2014
  • Time: 15:30 - 17:00
  • Speaker: Stine Simonsen Puri (University of Copenhagen)
  • Stine Simonsen Puri is an anthropologist working as a postdoc at Institute for Cross-Cultural and Regional Studies at Copenhagen University, from where she also received her PhD. Her dissertation was on gambling and speculative economy in India based on fieldwork at indian racecourses. In addition to this, she has worked and published on dance, performance and mythology in India.
  • Location: MPI-MMG, Hermann-Föge-Weg 12, Göttingen
  • Room: Conference Room
"In the absence of chance: Play and economy at the Delhi racecourse"

For more details please contact vdvoffice(at)mmg.mpg.de.

The lecture is based on a long-term fieldwork at the Delhi Racecourse, and examines engagements with contingency among bettors. It argues that at the racecourse, it is common speculated knowledge that the future is manipulated with by human actors and as a consequence, there exists a substantial market for inside information. It describes four channels for inside information existing. These channels are between bettors, bookmakers, people of a surrounding slum area and others near and far, contacted through cell phones. It examines the future imaginaries and related practices behind this market for inside information, and how these can be tied to notions of play. With a focus on playing with the rules, rather than play by the rules, it seeks to challenge dominant theories of play involving both fun and money. In India, it is not only the gods in Hindu myths, who are considered to manipulate games, this is also the case in modern gambling settings.

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