The Labor of Luck: Casino Capitalism in the United States and South Africa

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9780520259485: The Labor of Luck: Casino Capitalism in the United States and South Africa

In this gripping ethnography, Jeffrey J. Sallaz goes behind the scenes of the global casino industry to investigate the radically different worlds of work and leisure he found in identically designed casinos in the United States and South Africa. Seamlessly weaving political and economic history with his own personal experience, Sallaz provides a riveting account of two years spent working among both countries' casino dealers, pit bosses, and politicians. While the popular imagination sees the Nevada casino as a hedonistic world of consumption, The Labor of Luck shows that the Vegas experience” is made possible only through a variety of systems regulating labor, capital, and consumers, and that because of these complex dynamics, the Vegas casino cannot be seamlessly picked up and replicated elsewhere. Sallaz's fresh and path-breaking approach reveals how neo-liberal versus post-colonial forms of governance produce divergent worlds at the tables, and how politics, profits, and pleasure have come together to shape everyday life in the new economy.

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From the Inside Flap:

"A rich and compelling comparative study of a rapidly growing and little-studied global industry. Sallaz offers an extremely clever and provocative account that is sure to stimulate a lot of debate among scholars."—Ruth Milkman, University of California, Los Angeles and author of L.A. Story: Immigrant Workers and the Future of the U.S. Labor Movement

"A tremendous tour de force. It is astonishing in its scope, ranging effortlessly from the minutiae of shop floor life to the heights of comparative national political and economic history, from breezily personal (and often amusing) to a brilliant reconstruction of social theory."—Steven Henry Lopez, Ohio State University and author of Reorganizing the Rust Belt: An Inside Study of the American Labor Movement

About the Author:

Jeffrey J. Sallaz is Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of Arizona.

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