Theoretical Framing of the Database

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Key challenges and main findings

The informal view of the world by Alena Ledeneva

What is old and what is new in the dialectics of ‘us’ and ‘them’? by Zygmunt Bauman

Are some countries more informal than others? The case of Russia by Svetlana Baruskova and Alena Ledeneva


1. Neither gift nor commodity: the instrumentality of sociability

Economies of favours by Nicolette Makovicky and David Henig
Managing favours in a global economy by Sheila M. Puffer and Daniel J. McCarthy

2. Neither gift nor payment: the sociability of instrumentality

Vernaculars of informality by Nicolette Makovicky and David Henig
'Interested' vs 'disinterested' giving: defining extortion, reciprocity and pure gifts in the connected worlds by Florence Weber


3. Conformity: the lock-in effect of social ties

Group identity and the ambivalence of norms by Eric Gordy
Organic solidarity and informality – two irreconcilable concepts? by Christian Giordano

4. The unlocking power of non-conformity: cultural resistance vs political opposition

Introduction: the grey zones between cultural and political by Peter Zusi
Conclusion: ambiguities of accommodation, resistance and rebellion by Jan Kubik


5. The system made me do it: strategies of survival

Introduction: the puzzles of informal economy by Colin Marx
Conclusion: how do tools of evasion become instruments of exploitation? by Scott Radnitz

6. Gaming the system: strategies of camouflage

Introduction: gaming the system by Philip Hanson
Conclusion: methods of researching part-time crime and illicit economic activity by Gerald Mars


7. Co-optation: recruiting clients and patrons

Introduction: carrots versus sticks in patron–client networks by Paul M. Heywood
Conclusion: do patron–client relationships affect complex societies? by Elena Semenova

8. Control: instruments of informal governance

Introduction: politics of fear by Vladimir Gelman
Conclusion: when do informal practices turn into informal institutions? Informal constitutions and informal ‘meta-rules’ by Scott Newton