In this article I focus on prediction in an Indian gambling market. The article is based on my long-term fieldwork at Delhi Racecourse, which offered a microcosm in which to examine speculations on future uncertainty. I argue that these speculations are oriented toward predicting people rather than horses. This is because the future is not considered an open-ended event subject to laws of chance, but rather an event that is fixed. The races are perceived as spectacles hiding the real underlying game, where races are being manipulated by jockeys, trainers, horse owners, race judges, and the mafia in order to extract money from the betting market. This understanding of the immediate future as manipulated by various actors with economic interest in certain outcomes mirrors perceptions of the political economic system in India at large. In the article I emphasize the importance of embedding our understanding of uncertainty in political, economic, technological, and social contexts and existing systems of exchange, while paying attention to the role of larger technological and economic developments. I take betting to be a form of speculation in between calculation and suspicion.
Stine Simonsen Puri; Betting on Performed Futures: Predictive Procedures at Delhi Racecourse. Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East 1 December 2015; 35 (3): 466–480. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/1089201X-3426313
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