Dr Rebecca Cassidy



Professor | MA MPhil PhD

r.cassidy (


Research Interests

I’m currently working on a project about gambling in Europe (GAMSOC) funded by a starting grant from the European Research Council. I head a team of four researchers, and we are interested in how gambling in Europe might be studied in a way that preserves its cultural and historical variation. We have four case studies, intended to encourage us to study gambling across boundaries of various kinds: national, economic and conceptual. Claire Loussouarn will study spread betting among financial services workers. Julie Scott will work on domestic and commercial gambling in Cyprus. Andrea Pisac is studying casino gamblers and their families in Slovenia. I will focus on the online gambling industry. More information about GAMSOC can be found here:

Between 2006 and 2009 I ran a project funded by the Economic and Social Research Council and Responsibility in Gambling Trust, exploring the everyday lives of inveterate gamblers. My fieldwork took place in betting shops in London. I was particularly interested in punters, betting shop workers, the betting shop environment, licensing, legislation, and the social history of the gambling industry. This related to more general interests in money, stakes, risk, luck, work, deregulation, machines and numbers.

Since 2002, I have been working on a comparative study of the British and North American thoroughbred breeding and racing industries, conducting fieldwork in Newmarket, England, and in the Bluegrass of Kentucky, focusing on kinship, gender and class. This project is part of a broader interest in people’s relationships with their environment, including plants and animals. In 2004, Professor Molly Mullin and I organised a Wenner Gren international symposium on the future of the concept of domestication within anthropology. The symposium, held in Tucson in 2005, involved anthropologists, archaeologists, linguists, biological anthropologists and historians from New Zealand, Australia, Norway, the United States and the United Kingdom. In 2006 I embarked upon an Isaac Newton Trust supported project with Dr Mim Bower of the McDonald Institute of Cambridge University, combining ethnographic and DNA data in order to explore horse domestication in central Asia.


Recent Publications

Cassidy, Rebecca. 2010. Gambling as exchange: horserace betting in London. International Gambling Studies, 10(2), pp. 139-149.

Cassidy, Rebecca. 2009. ‘Casino capitalism’ and the financial crisis. Anthropology Today, 25(4), pp. 10-13.

Cassidy, Rebecca. 2009. The horse, the Kyrgyz horse and the ‘Kyrgyz horse'. Anthropology Today, 25(1), pp. 12-15.

Cassidy, Rebecca. 2009. An anthropologist in the bookies. Newsletter of the Society for the Study of Gambling, 43, Spring.

Cassidy, Rebecca. 2007. Horse People: thoroughbred culture in Lexington and Newmarket. Johns Hopkins University Press.

Cassidy, Rebecca and Mullin, M.. 2007. Where the wild things are now: Domestication reconsidered. Oxford: Berg.

Cassidy, Rebecca. 2007. Blood "Bon sang me saurait mentir". Reproduction d'hommes et de chevaux Newmarket. Ethnologie Française, 37(2), pp. 233-242.