Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Show Summary Details
More options …

Human Affairs

Postdisciplinary Humanities & Social Sciences Quarterly

Editor-in-Chief: Višnovský, Emil

Ed. by Bianchi, Gabriel / Hrubec, Marek / Tartaglia, James

CiteScore 2018: 0.26

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2018: 0.288
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2018: 0.221

See all formats and pricing
More options …
Volume 25, Issue 3


Rationalization and the Re-Enchantment of Play: the Dialectics of Legal Gambling in Israel

Moshe Levy
Published Online: 2015-07-01 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/humaff-2015-0026


Romantic notions and critical theories of play describe an assault by rationalization processes on the free and spontaneous nature of play. Other theories seek to describe the dialectical nature between rationalization and freedom, between routine, and magic, and between planning and spontaneity. This article seeks to focus on the rationalization processes of play and to examine whether and in what dimensions, these processes shape the characteristics of play and hamper its spontaneity and freedom. Examination of these processes, performed by socio-historical analysis of legal gambling in Israel, shows that rationalization processes were active on both the practical and technological levels, and on the discursive level of the games of chance. Nevertheless, the characteristics of freedom, joy and spontaneity appeared only on the discursive level of the game and were designed to deliberately serve the economic interests of the various agents in the Israeli gambling field.

Keywords: gambling; rationalization; play; Israel; lottery.


  • Ball, S. M., & Smith W. S. (1992). Analyzing visual data. Newbury Park: Sage.Google Scholar

  • Barthes, R. (1972). Mythologies. London: J.Cape.Google Scholar

  • Brookey, R. A., & Booth, P. (2006). Restricted play: Synergy and the limits of interactivity in The Lord of the Rings: The return of the king video game. Games and Culture, 1(3), 214-230.Google Scholar

  • Campbell, C. (1987). The romantic ethic and the spirit of modern consumerism. Oxford: Blackwell.Google Scholar

  • Caillois, R. (1961). Man, play and games. Glencoe: Free Press.Google Scholar

  • Grimes, M. S., & Feenberg, A. (2009). Rationalizing play: A critical theory of digital gaming. The Information Society, 25, 105-118.Web of ScienceGoogle Scholar

  • Guttmann, A. (1978). From ritual to record. New York: Columbia.Google Scholar

  • Huizinga, J. (1955). Homo ludens: A study of the play element in culture. Boston: Beacon Press.Google Scholar

  • Kirkpatrick, G. (2008). Technology and social power. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar

  • Kuschner, D. (2012). What is the state of play? International Journal of Play, 1(1), 103-104.Google Scholar

  • Levy, M. (2005). The Israeli gambling field: Between value rationality and instrumental rationality. Ph.D. Thesis. Bar-Ilan University.Google Scholar

  • Levy, M. (2006). The politics of fortune: The state and the inception of the Israeli lottery. Social Issues in Israel, 1(2), 174-202. In Hebrew.Google Scholar

  • Levy, M. (2010). Toward a Weberian theory of gambling: The rationalization of legal gambling in Israel. International Gambling Studies, 10(30), 207-220.Google Scholar

  • Levy, M., & Galily, Y. (2009). Just for sport!? Sports, gambling & politics in Israel. International Journal of the History of Sport, 36(1), 84-100.Web of ScienceGoogle Scholar

  • Malaby, M. M. (2007). Beyond play: A new approach to games. Games and Culture, 2(2), 95-113.Google Scholar

  • Malaby, M. M. (2009). Anthropology and play: The contours of playful experience. New Literary History, 40, 205-218.Google Scholar

  • Ritzer, G., & Stillman, T. (2001). The modern Las Vegas Casino-Hotel: The paradigmatic new means of consumption. Management, 4(3) 83-99.Google Scholar

  • Sutton-Smith, B., & Roberts, M. J. (1971). The cross-cultural and psychological study of games. International Review of Sport Sociology, 6, 79-87.Google Scholar

  • Sutton-Smith, B. (1997). The ambiguity of play. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar

  • Taylor, T. L. (2006). Play between worlds: Exploring online game culture. Cambridge, Ma: MIT Press.Google Scholar

  • Turner, Victor (1988). Carnival in Rio: Dionysian drama in an industrializing society. In V. Turner (Ed.), The anthropology of performance (pp. 123-138). New York: Paj Publications.Google Scholar

  • Yin, R. K. (1984). Case study research. Beverly Hills: Sage. Google Scholar

About the article

Published Online: 2015-07-01

Published in Print: 2015-07-01

Citation Information: Human Affairs, Volume 25, Issue 3, Pages 317–326, ISSN (Online) 1337-401X, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/humaff-2015-0026.

Export Citation

© Institute for Research in Social Communication, Slovak Academy of Sciences.Get Permission

Comments (0)

Please log in or register to comment.
Log in