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Andrea Pisac

Position held:
Research Fellow

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Goldsmiths, University of London
SE14 6NW

I am currently working as a research fellow with Professor Rebecca Cassidy, Dr Claire Loussouarn and Dr Julie Scott on the ‘Gambling in Europe’ project. My case study looks at the development of casino tourism in Slovenia, particularly along the border with Italy. Gambling is approached as a complex and socially embedded process. As part of my fieldwork I have worked with gamblers and non-gamblers (family members), casino workers and industry professionals. I focus on how ideas, practices and legislation of gambling create and/or dissolve geographical and symbolic borders. Most specifically, my case study explores the social life of the border between Italy and Slovenia and what financial and symbolic exchanges it either supports or hinders. I am also interested in various card games and the way they reflect and produce their social environment. Opinions and experiences of how different some of them are (e.g. poker vs. bellote) further explore symbolic and spatial boundaries that people inact while they play. This research builds on the concepts that I developed during my doctoral thesis: chance, risk-taking, uncertainty and management of skill and luck. 

My doctoral thesis ‘Trusted Tales: creating authenticity in literary representations from ex-Yugoslavia’ (2010) looked at how authority and authenticity are expressed, constructed and appropriated within the literary production on the UK book market. By exploring these classical anthropological concepts through ex-Yugoslav exilic writing, I further focused on how ideas and practices of community were employed and negotiated. My research thus brought together ideas of the author as an authentic, representative, voice and exile as a position which grants the writer a new lease of relevancy in the post-socialist context. During my PhD I worked at the writers' association English PEN where I promoted foreign fiction in the UK. My work looked into how ‘free speech’ is negotiated on the ‘free market’ and which stories, as a result of entrepreneurial efforts of translators, writers and publishers get to be translated and trusted.

Selected publications



2007. ‘Trusted tales: authority and exile in literary representations from the former Yugoslavia’, Exiled Writers Ink, November Issue. London.

2009. ‘An accidental Serb’, Index on Censorship, 38(3): 140-9

2011. Trusted Tales: creating authenticity in literary representations from ex-Yugoslavia. PhD thesis. Anthropology Department. Goldsmiths College, University of London.

2011. ‘Emerging politics of authorship: recovering collectivity, negotiating the risk’, [Sic] – journal of literature, culture and literary translation, vol. 3

2012. ‘Big nations’ literature and small nations’ sociology’, Etnoloska tribina, 42(35)

2013. ‘Croupiers’ sleight of mind: playing with unmanaged ‘spaces’ in the casino industry’. In Qualitative Research in Gambling: Exploring the Production and Consumption of Risk, eds. R. Cassidy, C. Loussouarn and A. Pisac. London: Routledge.

2013. ‘Introduction’. In Qualitative Research in Gambling: Exploring the Production and Consumption of Risk, eds. R. Cassidy, C. Loussouarn and A. Pisac. London: Routledge.

2013. ‘Working the play: how a card game negotiates perceptions of work and productivity’. In Working Cultures/Cultures of Work, special issue of Narodna umjetnost, 50/1

forthcoming in 2014. ‘Anthropology of success: Balkan stories and Anglophone readers’, Wasafiri, special issue ed. V. Goldsworthy. Taylor & Francis. 

In preparation: ‘Correctors of fortune: productive lives of casino and investment cheaters’, written jointly with Claire Loussouarn 

Selected Fiction

2001. Absence. Zagreb: Studentski Centar. (collection of short stories)

2005. ‘Return’, Slovo, vol. 17, No 2. London: Maney Publishing. (short story self-translated into English)

2007. Until Death Do Us Part or I Kill You First. Zagreb: Algoritam. (collection of short stories)

2008. ‘Blue-green’, Making Do, No1, London (short story self-translated into English)

2009. ‘That Heavy Object of Desire’ in Eight Feet of Books, Zagreb: Kulturtreger (essay on creative writing)

2009. Two of a Kind. London: Exiled Writers Ink. (chapbook with 3 chapters of the novel-in-progress)

2010. ‘Pro Creation’. In 33 – anthology of best young London writers, London: Glass House Publishing.

2011. 'Giving up on Oneself'. www.shortstoryinenglish.wordpress

forthcoming in June 2013. Frontlines. Zagreb: Algoritam (novel)


Bela the card game – a short film about how a card game negotiates boundaries between play and work.

Was I here? The nine lives of the Palace hotel a short film about one of the most prestigious hotels built during the Tito’s Yugoslavia, where in 1972 a Penthouse-run casino was opened and operated for a few years.


Content last modified: 04 Jun 2013

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