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Mr Edward Pyle

School of Law, Criminology and Government (Faculty of Business)

Research interests

Project: The role of informal controls and ‘stimulus, set and setting’ in reducing gambling related harm and transitions to increased risky behaviour for gamblers

The research explores why it is that some individuals manage to gamble without experiencing problems while others cannot.

Taking a sociological perspective the research looks to understand how contextual and environmental factors may interplay in ways to increase risk of gambling related-harm. Furthermore the research explores the ways in which gambling is subject to informal controls that act to mediate gambling-related risks and harms. Tying these themes together, how do (social)-contextual factors interplay to facilitate or hinder informal controls impacting on their effectiveness to encourage or discourage gambling-risk and harm?

The project breaks from previous research in two main respects. First rather than focusing solely on those individuals who have experienced gambling problems in order to understand why they gamble problematically, the present research focuses primarily on those who gamble, sometimes quite heavily, without experiencing problems. It takes the perspective that problem gambling behaviour can be explored by focusing on those who can control gambling. This might have something to do with the social-context in which the individual behaviours; research concerning other addictive behaviours suggests that social-context may facilitate the development of informal social controls that may mediate problematic behaviours.

Second, and implicit in the first point, the research focuses on factors broadly external to the individual. Other gambling research has tended to medicalise problem gambling treating the behaviour as a manifestation of an entirely internal ‘dysfunction’.  Instead the research appreciates that gambling behaviour is influenced by both the ‘internal’and ‘external’ environment and focuses on the latter where there has been little investigation. This focus on the external environment leads to greater understanding of the potential for environmental harms and allows the development of interventions designed to reduce harm and facilitate harm reduction.

Research themes:social-setting; informal controls; risk environment; public health; embodiment; 

Research methods:interviewing; observation.