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


Substantive ambivalence: relationships vs use of relationships

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


Normative ambivalence of double standards: ‘us’ vs ‘them’

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

The grey zones between cultural and political by Peter Zusi
Ambiguities of accommodation, resistance and rebellion by Jan Kubik


Functional ambivalence of informal strategies: supportive or subversive?

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

The puzzles of informal economy by Colin Marx
How do tools of evasion become instruments of exploitation? by Scott Radnitz

6. Gaming the system: strategies of camouflage

Gaming the system by Philip Hanson
Methods of researching part-time crime and illicit economic activity by Gerald Mars


Motivational ambivalence: the blurring of the public and the private in the workings of informal power

7. Co-optation: recruiting clients and patrons

Carrots versus sticks in patron–client networks by Paul M. Heywood
Do patron–client relationships affect complex societies? by Elena Semenova

8. Control: instruments of informal governance

Politics of fear by Vladimir Gelman
When do informal practices turn into informal institutions? Informal constitutions and informal ‘meta-rules’ by Scott Newton