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About the book

The Global Encyclopaedia of Informality Volume 1 Cover.jpg The Global Encyclopaedia of Informality Volume 2 Cover.jpg

This unique collection invites you on a voyage of discovery, to explore society’s open secrets, unwritten rules and know-how practices. Broadly defined as ‘ways of getting things done’, these invisible yet powerful informal practices tend to escape articulation in official discourse. They include emotion-driven exchanges of gifts or favours and tributes for services, interest-driven know-how (from informal welfare to informal employment and entrepreneurship), identity-driven practices of solidarity, and power-driven forms of co-optation and control.

The Global Encyclopaedia of Informality has four parts, in two volumes, and contains over 200 entries. It is currently on a global tour.

Short introduction to Encyclopaedia

Volume 1

The volume consists of two parts, Part 1: Redistribution (substantive ambivalence) and Part 2: Solidarity (normative ambivalence).

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Part 1: Redistribution

The substantive ambivalence: relationships vs use of relationships

Preface by Alena Ledeneva

1 Neither gift nor commodity: the instrumentality of sociability

Introduction: economies of favours by Nicolette Makovicky and David Henig

1.1 Blat (Russia) by Alena Ledeneva
1.2 Jeitinho (Brazil) by Fernanda de Paiva
1.3 Sociolismo (Cuba) by Matthew Cherneski
1.4 Compadrazgo (Chile) by Larissa Adler Lomnitz
1.5 Pituto (Chile) by Dana Brablec Sklenar
1.6 Štela (Bosnia and Herzegovina) by Čarna Brković and Karla Koutkova
1.7 Veza (Serbia) by Dragan Stanojevic and Dragana Stokanic
1.8 Vrski (Macedonia) by Justin Otten
1.9 Vruzki (Bulgaria) by Tanya Chavdarova
1.10 Natsnoboba (Georgia) by Huseyn Aliyev
1.11 Tanish-bilish (Uzbekistan) by Rano Turaeva
1.12 Guanxi (China) by Mayfair Yang
1.13 Inmaek/Yonjul (South Korea) by Sven Horak
1.14 Tapş (Azerbaijan) by Leyla Sayfutdinova
1.15 Agashka (Kazakhstan) by Natsuko Oka
1.16 Zalatwianie (Poland) by Paulina Pieprzyca
1.17 Vitamin B (Germany) by Ina Kubbe
1.18 Jinmyaku (Japan) by Sven Horak
1.19 Jaan-pehchaan (India) by Denise Dunlap
1.20 Aidagara (Japan) by Yoshimichi Sato
1.21 Amici, amigos (Mediterranean and Latin America) by Christian Giordano

Conclusion: managing favours in a global economy by Sheila M. Puffer and Daniel J. McCarthy

Bibliography to Chapter 1

2 Neither gift nor payment: the sociability of instrumentality

Introduction: vernaculars of informality by Nicolette Makovicky and David Henig

2.1 Okurimono no shûkan (Japan) by Katherine Rupp
2.2 Songli (China) by Liang Han
2.3 Hongbao (China) by Lei Tan
2.4 L’argent du carburant (sub-Saharan Africa) by Thomas Cantens
2.5 Paid favours (UK) by Colin C. Williams
2.6 Egunje (Nigeria) by Dhikru Adewale Yagboyaju
2.7 Baksheesh (Middle East, North Africa and sub-continental Asia) by James McLeod-Hatch
2.8 Magharich’ (Armenia) by Meri Avetisyan
2.9 Kalym (Russia) by Jeremy Morris
2.10 Mita (Romanian Gabor Roma) by Péter Berta
2.11 Pozornost’/d’akovné/všimné (Slovakia) by Andrej Školkay
2.12 Biombo (Costa Rica) by Bruce M. Wilson and Evelyn Villarreal Fernández
2.13 Mordida (Mexico) by Claudia Baez-Camargo
2.14 Coima (Argentina) by Cosimo Stahl
2.15 Chorizo (Latin America) by Evelyn Villarreal Fernández and Bruce M. Wilson
2.16 Aploksne/aploksnīte (Latvia) by Iveta Kažoka and Valts Kalnins
2.17 Fakelaki (Greece) by Daniel M. Knight
2.18 Cash for access (UK) by Jonathan Webb
2.19 Korapsen (Papua New Guinea) by Grant W. Walton
2.20 Bustarella (Italy) by Simona Guerra
2.21 Dash (Nigeria and other West African countries) by Daniel Jordan Smith

Conclusion: ‘interested’ vs ‘disinterested’ giving: defining extortion, reciprocity and pure gifts in the connected worlds by Florence Weber

Bibliography to Chapter 2

Part 2: Solidarity

The normative ambivalence of double standards: ‘us’ vs ‘them’

Preface by Alena Ledeneva

3 Conformity: the lock-in effect of social ties

Introduction: group identity and the ambivalence of norms by Eric Gordy

Kinship lock-in

3.1 Adat (Chechnya) by Nicolè M. Ford
3.2 Ch'ir (Chechnya and Ingushetia) by Emil Aslan Souleimanov
3.3 Uruuchuluk (Kyrgyzstan) by Aksana Ismailbekova
3.4 Rushyldyq (Kazakhstan) by Dana Minbaeva and Maral Muratbekova-Touron
3.5 Yongo (South Korea) by Sven Horak
3.6 Kumstvo (Montenegro and the Balkans) by Klavs Sedlenieks
3.7 Azganvan popokhutyun (Armenian diaspora in Georgia) by Anri Grigorian
3.8 Wantoks and kastom (Solomon Islands, Melanesia) by Gordon Leua Nanau
3.9 Bapakism (Indonesia) by Dodi W. Irawanto

Closed community lock-in

3.10 Krugovaia poruka (Russia and Europe) by Geoffrey Hosking
3.11 Janteloven/Jantelagen (Scandinavia) by Morten Jakobsen
3.12 Hyvä Veli (Finland) by Besnik Shala
3.13 Old boy network (UK) by Philip Kirby
3.14 Klüngel (Germany) by Lea Gernemann
3.15 Vetterliwirtschaft/Copinage (Switzerland) by Lucy Koechlin
3.16 Tal (alt. taljenje, taliti, utaliti, rastaliti) (Serbia and countries of former Yugoslavia) by Danko Runić
3.17 Mateship (Australia) by Bob Pease

Semi-closed lock-in

3.18 Sitwa (Poland) by Piotr Koryś and Maciej Tymiński
3.19 Barone universitario (Italy) by Simona Guerra
3.20 Keiretsu (Japan) by Katsuki Aoki
3.21 Kanonieri qurdebi (Georgia) by Alexander Kupatadze
3.22 Silovye Gruppirovki (Bulgaria) by Igor Mitchnik
3.23 Omertà (Italy) by Anna Sergi
3.24 Nash chelovek (Russia) by Åse Berit Grødeland and Leslie Holmes

Modern and youth solidarities

3.25 Birzha (Georgia) by Costanza Curro
3.26 Dizelaši (Serbia) by Elena G. Stadnichenko
3.27 Normalnye patsany (Russia) by Svetlana Stephenson
3.28 Futbolna frakcia (Bulgaria) by Kremena Iordanova

Conclusion: organic solidarity and informality – two irreconcilable concepts? by Christian Giordano

Bibliography to Chapter 3

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

Introduction: the grey zones between cultural and political by Peter Zusi

4.1 Artistic repossession (general) by Christina Ezrahi
4.2 Magnetizdat (Russia) by James Taylor
4.3 Roentgenizdat (Russia) by James Taylor 346
4.4 Samizdat (USSR) by Jillian Forsyth
4.5 Materit’sya (Russia) by Anastasia Shekshnya
4.6 Padonki language (Russia) by Larisa Morkoborodova
4.7 Verlan (France) by Rebecca Stewart
4.8 Avos’ (Russia) by Caroline Humphrey
4.9 Graffiti (general) by Milena Ciric
4.10 Hacktivism (general) by Alex Gekker

Conclusion: ambiguities of accommodation, resistance and rebellion by Jan Kubik

Bibliography to Chapter 4

Concluding remarks to Volume 1: what is old and what is new in the dialectics of ‘us’ and ‘them’? by Zygmunt Bauman



Volume 2

The volume consists of two parts, Part 3: Market (functional ambivalence) and Part 4: Domination (motivational ambivalence).

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Part 3: Market

The functional ambivalence of informal strategies: supportive or subversive?

Preface by Alena Ledeneva

5 The system made me do it: strategies of survival

Introduction: the puzzles of informal economy by Colin Marx

Informal dwelling

5.1 Squatting by Jovana Dikovic
5.2 Schwarzwohnen (GDR) by Udo Grashoff
5.3 Kraken (The Netherlands) by Hans Pruijt
5.4 Allegados (Chile) by Ignacia Ossul
5.5 Favela (Brazil) by Marta-Laura Suska
5.6 Campamento (Chile) by Armando Caroca Fernandez
5.7 Mukhayyam (occupied Palestinian territories and neighbouring Arab countries) by Lorenzo Navone and Federico Rahola
5.8 Dacha (Russia) by Stephen Lovell

Informal welfare

5.9 Pabirčiti (or pabirčenje) (Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina) by Jovana Dikovic
5.10 Skipping (general) by Giovanna Capponi
5.11 Caffè sospeso (Italy) by Paolo Mancini
5.12 Gap (Uzbekistan) by Timur Alexandrov
5.13 Pomochi (Russia) by Irina V. Davydova
5.14 Nachbarschaftshilfe (Germany and German-speaking countries) by Roland Arbesleitner
5.15 Sosyudad (Philippines) by Ramon Felipe A. Sarmiento
5.16 Vay mượn (Vietnam) by Abel Polese
5.17 Loteria / Lloteria (Albania) by Drini Imami, Abel Polese and Klodjan Rama
5.18 Esusu (Nigeria) by Evans Osabuohien and Oluyomi Ola-David
5.19 Mahalla (Uzbekistan) by Rustamjon Urinboyev
5.20 Tandas and cundinas (Mexico and south-western USA) by Carlos G. Vélez-Ibáñez
5.21 Salam credit (Afghanistan) by James McLeod-Hatch
5.22 Obshchak (Russia) by Gavin Slade 80

Informal entrepreneurship

5.23 Zarobitchanstvo (Ukraine) by Alissa Tolstokorova
5.24 Rad na crno (Serbia) by Kosovka Ognjenović
5.25 Small-scale smuggling (general) by Bettina Bruns
5.26 Chelnoki (Russia and FSU) by Anna Cieślewska
5.27 Spaza shops (South Africa) by Vanya Gastrow
5.28 Shebeens (South Africa) by Nicolette Peters
5.29 Samogonovarenie (Russia) by Mark Lawrence Schrad
5.30 Buôn có bạn, bán có phường (Vietnam) by Abel Polese
5.31 Chợ cóc (Socialist Republic of Vietnam) by Gertrud Hüwelmeier
5.32 Rod-re (Thailand) by Kisnaphol Wattanawanyoo 114
5.33 Boda-boda taxis (Uganda) by Tom Goodfellow
5.34 Stoyanshiki (Georgia) by Lela Rekhviashvili
5.35 Baraholka (Kazakhstan) by Dena Sholk
5.36 Budženje (Serbia) by Marko Zivković
5.37 Jugaad (India) by Shahana Chattaraj
5.38 Jangmadang (North Korea) by Sokeel Park and James Pearson
5.39 Informal mining (general) by Alvin A. Camba
5.40 Hawala (Middle East, India and Pakistan) by Nauman Farooqi
5.41 Bitcoin (general) by Jean-Philippe Vergne and Gautam Swain 1

Conclusion: how do tools of evasion become instruments of exploitation? by Scott Radnitz

Bibliography to Chapter 5

6 Gaming the system: strategies of camouflage

Introduction: gaming the system by Philip Hanson

Free-riding (staying under or over the radar)

6.1 Cash in hand (general) by Colin C. Williams
6.2 Blat (Romania) by Marius Wamsiedel
6.3 Švercovanje (Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro) by Ivana Spasić
6.4 Deryban (Ukraine, Russia) by Olga Kesarchuk
6.5 Fimi Media (Croatia) by Ružica Šimić Banović
6.6 Tangentopoli (Italy) by Liliana Onorato

Intermediation (partial compliance with the rules by creating invisibility)

6.7 Brokerage (general) by David Jancsics
6.8 Wāsṭa (Middle East, North Africa) by James Redman
6.9 Dalali (India) by Nicolas Martin
6.10 Torpil (Turkey) by Onur Yay
6.11 Gestión (Mexico) by Tina Hilgers
6.12 Pulling strings (UK/USA) by Peter B. Smith
6.13 Kombinacja (Poland) (alt. kombinacya, kombinowanie, kombinować) by Edyta Materka
6.14 S vrutka (Bulgaria) by Lora Koycheva
6.15 Raccomandazione (Italy) by Dorothy L. Zinn
6.16 Insider trading (USA/general) by Ilja Viktorov
6.17 Externe Personen (Germany) by Andreas Maisch
6.18 Pantouflage (France) by Frédérique Alexandre-Bailly and Maral Muratbekova-Touron
6.19 Stróman (Hungary) by David Jancsics
6.20 Benāmi (India) by Kalindi Kokal
6.21 No entry (India) by Nikhilesh Sinha and Indivar Jonnalagadda
6.22 Repetitorstvo (Russia and FSU) by Eduard Klein
6.23 Krysha (Russia, Ukraine, Belarus) by Yulia Zabyelina and Anna Buzhor

Creating façades (partial compliance with the rules by visible camouflage)

6.24 Window dressing (general) by David Leung
6.25 Pripiski (Russia) by Mark Harrison
6.26 Kupona (Kosovo) by Arianit Tolaj
6.27 Alga aploksnē (Latvia) by Klāvs Sedlenieks
6.28 Vzaimozachety (Russia) by Caroline Dufy
6.29 Otkat (Russia) by Alexandra Vasileva
6.30 Potemkin villages (Russia) by Jessica T. Pisano
6.31 Astroturfing (USA/UK) by Anna Bailey and Sergei Samoilenko
6.32 Dzhinsa (Russia) by Françoise Daucé
6.33 Shpargalka (Russia) by Elena Denisova-Schmidt
6.34 Pyramid schemes (general) by Leonie Schiffauer

Playing the letter of the rules against their spirit

6.35 Flipping (UK) by Jonathan Webb
6.36 Reiderstvo (Russia and FSU) by Michael Mesquita
6.37 Zakaznoe bankrotstvo (Russia) by Yuko Adachi
6.38 Dangou/Dango (Japan) by Shuwei Qian
6.39 Vzyatkoemkost’ (Russia) by Christian Timm

Conclusion: methods of researching part-time crime and illicit economic activity by Gerald Mars

Bibliography to Chapter 6

Part 4: Domination

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

Preface by Alena Ledeneva

7 Co-optation: recruiting clients and patrons

Introduction: carrots versus sticks in patron–client networks by Paul M. Heywood

7.1 Kormlenie (Russia) by Sergei Bogatyrev
7.2 Kula (Tanzania) by Richard Faustine Sambaiga
7.3 Old corruption (UK historical) by William Rubinstein
7.4 Political machineries (USA historical) by Fran Osrecki
7.5 Seilschaft (Germany) by Dieter Zinnbauer
7.6 Parteibuchwirtschaft (Austria and Germany) by Roland Arbesleitner
7.7 Tazkia (Iraqi Kurdistan) by Hemn Namiq Jameel
7.8 Uhljeb (Croatia) by Ružica Šimić Banović
7.9 Trafika (Czech Republic) by Alzbeta Semsch
7.10 Padrino system/balimbing (Philippines) by Pak Nung Wong and Kristine A. Joyce Lara-de-Leon
7.11 Mafia Raj/Goonda Raj (India/South Asia) by Lucia Michelutti
7.12 Pork barreling (USA) by Andrew H. Sidman
7.13 Tamozhenniye l’goty (Russia) by Anna Bailey
7.14 Kumoterstwo and kolesiostwo (Poland) by Piotr Koryś and Maciej Tymiński
7.15 Quàn jiǔ (China) by Nan Zhao
7.16 Sadghegrdzelo (Georgia) by Florian Müehlfried
7.17 Goudui and Yingchou (China) by John Osburg

Conclusion: do patron–client relationships affect complex societies? by Elena Semenova

Bibliography to Chapter 7

8 Control: instruments of informal governance

Introduction: politics of fear by Vladimir Gelman

8.1 Brodiazhnichestvo (Russia) by Sheila Fitzpatrick with Sheelagh Barron
8.2 Songbun (North Korea) by James Pearson and Daniel Tudor
8.3 Dirt book (UK) by Anna Bailey
8.4 Kompromat (Russia) by Michael Mesquita
8.5 Chernukha (Russia) by Ilya Yablokov and Nadezhda Dreval
8.6 Character assassination (general) by Sergei Samoilenko, Eric Shiraev, Jennifer Keohane and Martijn Icks
8.7 Psikhushka (USSR) by Robert van Voren
8.8 Psikhushka (Russia) by Madeline Roache
8.9 Zersetzung (GDR) by Udo Grashoff
8.10 Smotryashchie, kuratory (Russia, Ukraine) by Andrew Wilson
8.11 Telefonnoe pravo (Russia) by Alena Ledeneva with Ružica Šimić Banović and Costanza Curro
8.12 Tsartsaani nüüdel (Mongolia) by Liz Fox
8.13 Vertical crowdsourcing (Russia) by Gregory Asmolov
8.14 Cyberattacks by semi-state actors (general) by Alistair Faulkner
8.15 Khokkeynaya diplomatiya (Russia) by Yoshiko M. Herrera and Yuval Weber

Conclusion: when do informal practices turn into informal institutions? Informal constitutions and informal ‘meta-rules’ by Scott Newton

Bibliography to Chapter 8

Concluding remarks to Volume 2: are some countries more informal than others? The case of Russia by Svetlana Baruskova and Alena Ledeneva


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.