Joining the Global Informality Project

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Suggest an entry

The growth of our database is pushed forward by suggestions for new encyclopaedic entries. If you notice something missing and feel it should be included here, please contact us at

We have identified a number of entries we would like to include in our database (but we are, of course, happy to accept other suggestions). Please contact us if you can contribute any of the practices listed below.

  • Ab bashi (Afghanistan)
  • Pozdravleniya (Russia)
  • Mianzi (China)
  • Bainian (China)
  • Fanju (China)
  • Buyeri (Russia)
  • Daigou (China)
  • Jajmani System (India)
  • Palinka (Hungary)
  • Practices of cyber-informality (Global)
  • Koumbaros (Cyprus)
  • Endrogar (Mexico)
  • Mut’a (temporary marriage in Shia Islam)
  • Soda money (Uganda)
  • Enchufismo (Spain)
  • Snow washing (Canada)
  • Tamizdat (FSU)
  • Ma'naviyat (Uzbekistan)
  • Zhuan Jie (China)

Become an author

The Encyclopaedia is based on authored entries of approximately 1,000-1,500 words including bibliography. We are looking for contributors who have done primary, if not pioneering research of aspects of informality. If you are interested in contributing, please contact us at

Guidelines for Entries

Each entry should focus on a single practice (preferably named in colloquial way) and analyse at least some of the following aspects:

  • Local name of the informal practice;
  • Definition, etymology and its translation into other languages;
  • How widely is it used?;
  • In which countries/regions/sectors is it spread?;
  • Identify analogous practices, named differently in different countries (if possible);
  • How does it relate to other informal practices (discuss similarities and differences if possible);
  • What are the implications of the chosen practice for politics/economy/ society?;
  • Which method was or can be used for researching this practice?;
  • Give examples of the practice;
  • How can the practice be measured?
  • Please cross-reference and recommend readings.
  • Include keywords that best describe the practice.
  • Please enclose with your submission two images related to the entry, which are either owned by you or not subject to copyright.


  • Entries should be written in British English in encyclopaedic style
  • Do not use headings or footnotes
  • Avoid use of the first person pronoun
  • Use simple and straightforward language
  • Entries should be aimed at a non-specialist audience, including non-academics


  • Entries should be double-spaced, ideally in Times New Roman font, point 12, with
  • margins set to ‘normal’ (2.54cm all round).
  • Non-English words, including the name of the practice, should appear in italics.
  • Referencing should appear in parentheses in the text, in the form (Surname Year: page number(s)), e.g. (Smith 2014: 31-5). Please do not put a comma between the author and the year.
  • All references in the text should be included in the bibliography/recommended reading.
  • Please list the name of the practice, author’s name and institution at the top of the document, in the exact format you wish it to appear, e.g.:
Name of practice: blat
Where found: Russia
Author name: Alena V. Ledeneva
Institution: School of Slavonic and East European Studies, University College London
  • Please use double square brackets to mark any analogous practice you are cross-referencing, e.g. [[guanxi]].
  • Only use singular inverted commas and quotation marks, not double. E.g. ‘informal’, NOT “informal”.
  • Percentages: write as e.g. 6 per cent, NOT 6% or 6 percent.
  • Write centuries out in full, e.g. nineteenth century, NOT 19th century. Decades can be written numerically, e.g. ‘during the 1920s’.
  • Please attach photographs or other media as a separate file and do not insert them in the text document.
  • Please include with your submission an email address where you will be most easily contacted throughout the duration of the project.

Referencing format


Rupp, K. 2004. Gift Giving in Japan: Cash, Connections, Cosmologies. Stanford: Stanford University Press

Blundo, G. and Le Meur, P. Y. (eds.) 2009. The Governance of Daily Life in Africa: Ethnographic Explorations of Public and Collective Services. Leiden: Brill Academic Publishers

Padgett, J., Bonacich, P., Skvoretz, J. and Scott, J. 2000. Social Network Analysis. London: Sage

Chapters from edited collections

Bourdieu, P. 1986. ‘The forms of capital’, in J. G. Richardson (ed.), Handbook of Theory and Research for the Sociology of Education. New York: Greenwood Press: 241-58

Journal Articles

Lebra, T. S. 1975. ‘An Alternative Approach to Reciprocity’, American Anthropologist, 77: 550-6

News articles

Kuzmin, V. 2011. ‘By October 1, government officials will leave the boards of state-run companies’, Rossiyskaya Gazeta, 4 April: 3

Novaya gazeta. 2010. ‘A bil li uchreditel’?’, No. 74, 12 July: 6

RIA Novosti. 2010. ‘Nothing can make nation drink less, say quarter of Russians’, 17 March

Internet-based sources

Petrov, T. 2012. ‘The secret of the wine cellar’,, 4 May, 2011. ‘Vladimir Putin speaks out against sharp rise in prices on alcohol in Russia’, 1 April,

UNDP. 2004. Practice Code: Anti-corruption,

Multiple works from the same author and year

Please differentiate by adding a letter after the year of publication, starting with “a”. For example:

Ballard, R. 2005a. ‘Coalitions of reciprocity and the maintenance of financial integrity within informal value transmission systems: The operational dynamics of contemporary hawala networks’, Journal of Banking Regulation, 6 (4): 319–352

Ballard, R. 2005b. ‘Remittances and economic development in India and Pakistan’, in S. Maimbo and D. Ratha (eds.), Remittances: Development Impact and Future Prospects. Washington, D.C.: World Bank

Non-English language sources

There is no need to provide translations of the titles of non-English sources. Please transliterate any non-Latin scripts into Latin letters, e.g.:

Korzhikhina, T. P. 1992. Administrativno-komandnaya sistema upravleniia. Moscow: RGGU

Kulikov, V. 2005. ‘Telefonnoe pravo podsudno’, Rossiiskaya gazeta, 6 September,

Contact us

The Global Informality Project


Professor Alena V. Ledeneva
University College London
School of Slavonic and East European Studies