A Genealogical Analysis of the Medical Model of Problem Gambling
Keywords:medical model, problem gambling, genealogy, biopower, confession, gamblers anonymous
By applying Foucault’s genealogical approach, this article understands the ascension of the medical model of problem gambling as a happenstance and contingent effect of a new form of social control (biopower). The investigation reveals the cumulative effect of some of the heterogeneous components surrounding the medical model’s creation: discourses; institutions; laws; regulatory decisions; administrative measures; scientific proposition, and philanthropic, moral, and philosophical arguments. In the process, it becomes apparent that the medical model is an effect of a form of control that is embedded in the population itself as a norm and follows the schemata of confessional discourse. This power is disciplining individual bodies and regulating populations towards normality by making problem gamblers critically examine themselves and discursively reveal the results. However, the present subjectivity for problem gamblers (i.e., how they understand themselves and how they are understood by those who would improve them) is an effect of the type of power contained in the confession as well. A certain form of subjectivity is created by admitting ‘I am powerless over gambling.’ While the language problem gamblers use to describe themselves is a mere effect of power, it nevertheless determines how they think of themselves and their relationship with gambling.
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Copyright (c) 2021 Sean Wilcox
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