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Mapping the American Moral Landscape

Edited by Alan Wolfe and Erik C. Owens

Paperback, 516 pages $39.95
Published: 1st August 2009
ISBN: 9781602581951
Format: 9in x 6in

Subjects: All Cultural Studies, All Ethics , All Political Science, All Sociology, Social & Economic Ethics

Why has gambling become so accepted in the U.S. when other historical vices, like smoking and drinking, continue to evoke morality-based opposition? That simple but intriguing question guides this path-breaking volume, the first interdisciplinary academic study of gambling. Led by the renowned Alan Wolfe and with essays by experts at the country’s premiere centers in public policy, clinical addiction, law, gaming, psychology, sociology, moral philosophy, theology, and the arts, Gambling: Mapping the American Moral Landscape is a tour de force of the booming cultural and moral phenomenon that has become woven into the fabric of American life. Both an attempt to understand and an effort to predict its future consequences, the book will prove evocative and critical reading for American civic and church leaders, activists, historians and government officials.

The Politics and Policy of Gambling
1. The Importance of a Good Cause: Ends and Means in State Lotteries
2. The Politics of Sovereignty and Public Policy Toward Gambling
3. Negotiating a Different Terrain: Morality Policymaking and Indian Gaming
4. New Policies, Same Old Vice: Gambling in the 21st Century

Individual Behavior and Social Impact
5. Behavioral and Brain Measures of Risk-Taking
6. Gambling with the Family?
7. Gambling and Morality: A Neuropsychiatric Perspective
8. The Unproblematic Normalization of Gambling in America

Theology, Gambling and Risk
9. The Memory of Sin: Gambling in Jewish Law and Ethics
10. Grace and Gambling
11. The Criminal Law of Gambling: A Puzzling History
12. Playing and Praying: What’s Luck Got to Do with It?

Gambling in American Culture
13. Beyond Pathology: The Cultural Meanings of Gambling
14. Civic Values and Education Lotteries: The Irony of Funding Public Education with Lottery Revenues
15. A Tale of Two “Sins”: Regulation of Gambling and Tobacco
16. The Culture War Issue that Never Was: Why the Right and Left Have Overlooked Gambling

"Enhanced with copious notes, an extensive bibliography, and a comprehensive index, Gambling is a seminal work of impressive scholarship and a very strongly recommended addition to academic library Social Issues reference collections and supplemental reading lists."


"A vivid demonstration of how profoundly gambling intersects with politics, economics, culture, and even theology. I highly recommend it."

— David G. Schwartz, Director, Center for Gaming Research, University of Nevada, Las Vegas

"An invaluable guide for understanding the roots of gambling in the American psyche and its implications for the future."

—Keith S. Whyte, Executive Director, National Council on Problem Gambling

"A dramatic advance in scholarly consideration of this neglected phenomenon in American life. It brings together a brilliant interdisciplinary team."

—David P. Gushee, Distinguished University Professor of Christian Ethics, President, Evangelicals for Human Rights, McAfee School of Theology, Mercer University

"Groundbreaking. Wolfe and Owens explain why gambling has been ignored in our national values debate—and consequences of the omission."

—Melissa Rogers, Director, Center for Religion and Public Affairs, Wake Forest University Divinity School

Alan Wolfe is Professor of Political Science and Director of the Boisi Center for Religion and American Public Life, Boston College. He is the author and editor of 20 books, including, most recently, The Future of Liberalism, (2009), Does American Democracy Still Work? (2006), and Return to Greatness: How America Lost Its Sense of Purpose and What it Needs to Do to Recover It (2005). He lives in Brookline, Massachusetts.

Erik C. Owens is Assistant Director of the Boisi Center for Religion and American Public Life and Adjunct Assistant Professor of Theology, Boston College. He is the co-editor of Religion and the Death Penalty: A Call for Reckoning (2004), and The Sacred and the Sovereign: Religion and International Politics (2003). He lives in West Roxbury, Massachusetts.

Publication Details:

 Paperback , 516 pages
 9in x 6in

  POL038000, SOC000000, SOC002010
 Baylor University Press

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