Feminist Review

, Volume 89, Issue 1, pp 122–137

working class women, gambling and the dream of happiness

  • Emma Casey


This paper offers an account of the relationship between gender, class and notions of happiness. It draws on recent research conducted into the experiences of working class women who play the UK National Lottery. In particular, it explores the notion that gambling offers working class women the opportunity to dream of the ‘good life’ – of enhancing their lives and of making ‘improvements’ to their own and their families’ well-being. In this paper, the discourse of happiness will be examined, and the tacit assumption that working class women in particular are prone to turning to gambling as a last ditch attempt to personal and emotional fulfilment will be challenged. The paper argues that developing understandings of culture and consumption practices is imperative for producing a more complex understanding of the subjective realities of working class women's everyday lives. By engaging with feminist accounts of respectability, daydream and fantasy, the paper will present a thorough exploration of National Lottery play in working class women's everyday experiences of happiness.


happiness gambling gender class daydream respectability 


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© Feminist Review Ltd 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Emma Casey

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