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Accepted Paper:

The Lottery in Istanbul: Middle-Class Consumption of Risk and Chance in Istanbul  
Wesam Hassan (University of Oxford)

Paper short abstract:

I use the concept "Middle Class", and their subjective perception of risk and chance, as an analytical category to examine my research participants' narratives about their participation in the national lottery (Milli Piyango) in Istanbul.

Paper long abstract:

I use the concept "Middle Class", and their subjective perception of risk and chance, as an analytical category to examine my research participants' narratives about their participation in the national lottery (Milli Piyango) in Istanbul. I aim to understand how do they conceptualize economic opportunities, chance, and the possibility of a good life amidst their turbulent economic and political realities. I argue that examining people's engagement with the concept of luck, chance, and fortune could offer an ethnographic theorization of the ways in which people reckon with and negotiate deterministic views about economic uneasiness, opportunity, chance, and ultimately everyday practices related to their relationship to money and financial decisions. Although participation in the lottery can be considered as an exceptional activity that offers a break from everyday life events, it has its own reality and sociality that can shed light on people's philosophies and world views about their living conditions and its entangled realities (Puri 2016: 110; Malaby 2003). The aim of my research thus is to explore how people conceptualize uncertainty, luck, and chance, and to investigate the tension that lies between what people care about versus what the government cares for in a state-regulated game of chance industry. My proposed research looks beyond pathologizing gambling to open a space to examine the infrastructure of monetizing luck and uncertainty, the sector's role in conjuring political power, and how the desire to engage with games of chance is created and sustained in the late neoliberal ethnographic sensorium of Turkey.

Panel P012b
The middle classes under rising authoritarianism and economic unevenness: between great expectations and lost illusions
  Session 1 Thursday 28 July, 2022, -