About the Global Informality Project

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About the Global Informality Project

The Global Informality Project is an interdisciplinary research project led by UCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies. It provides the first multimedia online resource that explores informal practices and structures from a global perspective. Through its comparative and ethnographic investigations, the database explores the existence of multiple moralities, which account for the resilience of informal practices, and explore their legitimacy and institutional arrangements as well as the cultural and historical contexts of informality. This online resource is truly international: it includes entries from 5 continents, over 60 countries and over 200 researchers.

The project:

  • set up a platform for the crowdsourcing, cataloguing, and monitoring of informal practises across the globe.

Two printed volumes, published in 2018 in the FRINGE series by UCL Press, explore the boundaries between informality and corruption, including the ambivalence of informal practices and their major implications for anti-corruption policy. We continue to assemble practices for our online wiki database, with a purpose of developing a third volume of the Encyclopaedia in the near future.

Maintainance of the database is supported by students from the UCL’s Information Studies / Centre for Digital Humanities who keep the database updated on annual basis.

Editorial team

Editor-in-Chief: Prof Alena Ledeneva (a.ledeneva@ucl.ac.uk)

Project Coordinator: Dr Petra Matijevic (informality2014@gmail.com)

Short introduction to the project

About the FRINGE Centre for the Study of Social and Cultural Complexity

The FRINGE Centre explores the roles that complexity, ambivalence and immeasurability play in social and cultural phenomena. A cross-disciplinary initiative bringing together scholars from the humanities and social sciences, FRINGE examines how seemingly opposed notions such as centrality and marginality, and clarity and ambiguity, can shift and converge when embedded in everyday practices. Our interest lies in the hidden complexity of all embedded practices, taken-for-granted and otherwise invisible subjects. Illuminating the 'fringe' thus puts the 'centre' in a new light.

The FRINGE Centre publishes the FRINGE series with UCL Press.

History of the project

Read our recent newsletters or browse through our archive of project newsletters for a comprehensive view of how the project has developed.

Development of the Project

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Our start-up small research grant was given by the UCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies (5K). The book benefitted from Alena Ledeneva’s fellowship at the Paris Institute for Advanced Studies, with the financial support of the French State managed by the Agence Nationale de la Recherche, programme ‘Investissements d’avenir’ (ANR- 11- LABX- 0027- 01 Labex RFIEA+). The website and editorial activities were mainly supported by the dissemination funding of the European Union Seventh Framework Research Project, ‘Anti- corruption Policies Revisited: Global Trends and European Responses to the Challenge of Corruption’ (ANTICORRP, 2012– 17, Grant agreement No: 290529). We are grateful to our partners in the European Union’s Horizon 2020 project on ‘Closing the Gap Between Formal and Informal Institutions in the Balkans’ (INFORM, Grant agreement No. 693537). The UCL European Institute has helped with publication cost and dissemination and has been a supporter of the UCL-SSEES-IAS Centre for the Study of Social and Cultural Complexity (FRINGE). The cooperation with Digital Humanities was funded by the UCL Centre for Humanities Interdisciplinary Research Projects (CHIRP) in 2014– 16 (5K). Thank you to postgraduate students from the Digital Humanities programme – Yang Liu, Adriana Bastarrachea Santez, Yuan Guo, Orla Delaney, Binxia Xu, Xi Cao and Oksana Walsh – for helping keep the online database functioning and accessible.