29/09/2022 (Thursday) 13:00-14:00 E21B-G002

Baccarat, Biopolitics, and Casino Capitalism in Macau

Portuguese explorers founded Macau in 1557 to serve as a port of trade between Europe and China at the origins of the global capitalist system. In 1999, Portugal returned Macau to the People’s Republic of China after nearly five centuries of colonial administration. At the time of the handover, Macau was the last remaining European territory in Asia, with a moribund economy and lethargic ambiance. Over the next two decades, however, Macau was transformed into the most lucrative site of casino gaming in global history, and (for a brief period) one of the wealthiest territories in the world. This talk explores Macau’s indigenous regime of casino capitalism and the city’s function in an emergent era of Sino-capitalism. Drawing on Michel Foucault’s concept of the apparatus, I focus on the megacity, the integrated resort, and the baccarat machine, in order to understand Macau’s pedagogical role in producing citizen-consumers for China’s reform-era economy.

Tim Simpson is Associate Professor in the Department of Communication, University of Macau, where he has worked since 2001. His recent research has appeared in Cultural Geographies, Journal of Cultural Economy, Applied Mobilities, and Journal of Tourism and Cultural Change. He is the author of the forthcoming book Betting on Macau: Casino Capitalism and China’s Consumer Revolution (University of Minnesota Press) which will be published in 2023.