Charles H. P. Zuckerman
- Postdoctoral Researcher
- University of Sydney, Australia
"What the Action Is: Gambling and Moral Categories in Late-Socialist Laos" follows gamblers as they reflect on their relationships and reputations by putting the games they play into categories. The book expands from these gamblers’ stories to show how their predicament epitomizes the central moral problem of contemporary Laos: reframing once-banned capitalist activities as newly good. It argues that Lao socialism is not a set of policies but a national project of moral categorization that permeates everyday life. To make this case, the book develops a new approach to named cultural categories generally, emphasizing that it is the heterogeneity of forms of categorization that explains why such categories are both so important to the people who use them and so challenging to analyze.