This page contains information on open calls for informality-related projects, organised by the contributors to the Encyclopaedia, to foster collaboration among the authors.
- 1 Pre-call for funded PhD positions: MARKETS
- 2 CFP: Housing informality in the Global North: a socio-historical approach
- 3 CFP: Thirty Years of Transition – The Ljubo Sirc Centenary Conference
- 4 Call for Chapters: Communication Studies in Russia and Surrounding Post-Soviet Countries and Traditional and New Media Studies in Eastern Europe and Eurasia
- 5 Call for Applications: International Workshop on Shadow Practices, Policy and Development
- 6 CFP: The Sharing Economy - New HRM Theories and Practices?
- 7 CFP: Character Assassination and Populism - Challenges and Responses
- 8 CFP: Informal Housing and Property Rights in the Countries of the Former Soviet Bloc
- 9 CFP: Informal networks ‒ The dark and the bright side of managing informally
- 10 CFP: Informal institutions and international business
- 11 Call for chapters: Mobilities and informality in former socialist spaces
Pre-call for funded PhD positions: MARKETS
This is a pre-call. An official call will be launched once the contract with the European Commission is signed. The call will be published by the end of February on the Euraxess website.
Applications for 15 PhD positions (deadline 15 March 2020) will soon open in project MARKETS: Mapping Uncertainties, Challenges and Future Opportunities of Emerging Markets: Informal Barriers, Business Environments and Future Trends in Eastern Europe, The Caucasus and Central Asia.
Coordinated by Dublin City University, MARKETS benefits from participation of University College London, Catholic University in Louvain, Forschungstelle Osteuropa Bremen, University of Helsinki, Center for Social Sciences and Tallinn Technical University.
It is a business and policy oriented PhD training equipping 15 fellows with theoretical knowledge, analytical skills and complementary training to understand and deal with practical and business problems in the region. Our goal is to compare countries that had fully opened to foreign investors by the early 2000s – Estonia, Latvia (now EU members), Georgia (considered by many as an example of best practice in reforms), and Kyrgyzstan (where markets are stable but no major economic leap is expected in the next immediate future) – with what have been identified as significant prospective post-USSR markets for the next ten years - Belarus, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan (all of which have shown a more concrete desire for economic dialogue in the past three years), Russia (its eastern region and, in particular, Siberia, which has remained largely unexplored by EU companies), and Azerbaijan, a country that has finally started interacting in more concrete terms with the EU.
Starting from an individual research and training path, that will be tailored to each PhD student career aspirations, MARKETS researchers will engage in a collective team-exercise to:
- construct a map of business environments in the region. To do this, we will measure and assess currently available information against informal business practices, business cultures and foreign investment sentiments (with regard to relationships with the authorities, other businesses, formal/informal lobby groups and society) of companies operating in each target country;
- create, develop and work to improve the sustainability of training programmes for future analysts to equip them with a deep practical understanding of the region, embedded in the newest theoretical and methodological approaches.
Our goal is to translate scientific results into valuable strategic intelligence, guidelines and recommendations that can mitigate the difficulties European entrepreneurs often face when trying to enter and succeed in the region.
UCL will have 2 open PhD positions, supervised by Alena Ledeneva:
- Measuring functional ambivalence of informal practices: supportive vs subversive roles in integration in post-USSR spaces; and
- Informal governance: where informality stops and corruption begins.
Each selected candidate will be enrolled into a PhD programme, be seconded to the target region for data collection. They will subsequently be seconded to a non-academic partner to gain a hands-on work experience on how research skills can be used beyond academia for the benefit of the governmental, private or international development sector.
The training is intensive and demanding but it is also what we call a “career accelerator”. Each fellow will be offered first class working conditions, salary, mobility allowance, family allowance and networking opportunities with more than 20 organizations worldwide.
Financial conditions and background documents are available here and change country by country according to EC/REA rules that you can find here.
CFP: Housing informality in the Global North: a socio-historical approach
Noel A. Manzano Gómez (Valladolid University/Bauhaus University of Weimar, firstname.lastname@example.org), Gaja Maestri (Aston University of Birmingham, email@example.com) invite submissions of abstracts to Housing informality in the Global North: a socio-historical approach, a panel at the IV Midterm Conference of the European Sociological Association Research Network 37, taking place in Bologna, Italy from 2-4 September 2020.
Abstract submission deadline: 3rd April 2020
Abstract submission: https://esarn37.hypotheses.org/2065
Housing informality, in the sense of use of land or buildings outside the legal realm, has been widespread dwelling strategy for the urban poor in different geographical contexts and historical periods. Informality crucially shaped the “hidden history of housing” (Ward, 2002), as part of what Foucault (2013) calls “popular illegality”. Still today these practices characterise the housing situation in many Global South countries, where hundreds million people live in so-called slum areas. Yet Europe is no exception: having witnessed informal housing practices in the past, they are reemerging in present times as a diffused housing solution not only for marginalised and migrant populations, but also for the working class (see Mudu and Chattopadhyay, 2017). This session aims to explore housing informality among urban poor, by comparing different historical periods in order to investigate the origins and developments of this phenomenon in the Global North. We believe that this socio-historical perspective can be particularly fruitful to shed light on informal housing processes that have been so far largely studied with reference to contemporary examples. Moreover, comparison of informal housing practices across different times in history can enrich the current attention to their geographical dimension, adding to the understanding of the evolution of these practices in the same cities and regions. Overall, through this approach we wish to bring to the fore the temporality of housing informality to better understand its long-lasting presence in Global North.
We welcome contributions addressing, but not limited to, the following topics:
- The transformation of materiality and everyday life of informal housing in different historical periods;
- The various forms of collective action around housing both in the present and past;
- The genealogies, developments, legacies and travelling of public policy tools to govern housing informality and control land use;
- The evolution of the relationship between the real estate market and public authorities with regard to urban planning and informal housing;
- The representations of urban informal dwellers and how they changed (or not) in history;
- The changes in global capitalism and how they affect housing informality.
CFP: Thirty Years of Transition – The Ljubo Sirc Centenary Conference
Ružica Šimić Banović wishes to draw your attention to the 30 Years of Transition - Ljubo Sirc Centenary academic conference, organised by the Faculty of Law and Business Studies at the Catholic Institute, Ljubljana and taking place in Ljubljana, Slovenia on 21-22 May 2020.
The Conference will bring together analyses addressing the development, performance and challenges of transition economies. The Conference also marks Ljubo Sirc’s centenary. Ljubo Sirc was one of the first scholars to criticise thoroughly the deficiencies of state socialism, especially in the area of investment inefficiency, lack of entrepreneurship and poor institutions. Each day of the conference will be devoted to one topic:
- Thursday, May 21st: Criticism of State Socialism – Still Relevant?
- Friday, May 22nd: Business Environment and Corruption in Transition Economies
Abstract are due 21 February 2020.
We invite you to submit an abstract and/or a paper to attend the conference. We encourage authors to explore questions including (but not limited to):
- State socialism: remnants or resurrection? A comparative perspective (transition and advanced economies; different trajectories of transition; signs of reversive transition; role of the state; populism and protectionism; environmentalism and anti-capitalism; fiscal and monetary policies; structural reforms; property rights enforcement and the rule of law)
- European Union: accession and integration policies (the legal framework; decision-making rules; conditional transfers; sustainable immigration and welfare)
- Political competition and economic (public versus private sector in health and education policies; regulation – too much, too little or bad regulation? socialist conceptions of the role of state in the democracy)
- Business Environment and Corruption in Transition Economies
- Business environment, market drivers and ethics (market frameworks; formal and informal practices; corruption; competition; digital economy; institutional upgrading; expertise and integrity of the judiciary; privacy and personal data protection; trade openness and foreign direct investment;)
- Legacy or not (institutional traps that are not legacy of the past but have emerged from the transition process itself; business elites and top management teams; clandestine networks; government sponsored crime; role of trade unions).
All abstracts will be included in the Book of Abstracts. All papers will be privately distributed among conference participants. Conference Proceedings with ISBN will be published as a special issue of the Catholic Institute scientific journal Res Novae. Post-Communist Economies will consider conference papers for publication. Selected papers need to be extended and adapted according to the journal’s requirements.
Awards for the Best Paper and the Best Presentation
The Programme Committee Members will select the four best papers submitted to the conference. The first prize will be €400 and prizes of €200 each for three runners-up. In addition, there will be an award for the most outstanding presentation during the conference.
- Abstracts due by: February 21st, 2020
- Abstract acceptance notification: March 6th, 2020
- Full papers (if applicable) due by: March 20th, 2020
- Authors/presenters registration deadline on: April 20th,2020
- Program of the conference finalized: April 27th, 2020
- Late registration for non-presenting participants only: May 8th 2020
Notes for Prospective Authors
All abstracts/papers must be submitted in English in PDF format. The submission should be sent as PDF attachment by email to the main Conference email address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Call for Chapters: Communication Studies in Russia and Surrounding Post-Soviet Countries and Traditional and New Media Studies in Eastern Europe and Eurasia
Sergei Samoilenko is inviting chapters for two books focusing on communication and mass communications in Eurasia, Eastern and Central Europe, and Central Asia: Communication Studies in Russia and Surrounding Post-Soviet Countries and Traditional and New Media Studies in Eastern Europe and Eurasia. Both will be published with Lexington Books. The idea is to bring to international attention the diverse academic activities involving the broad study of communication in a geographic region that to date does not have widespread knowledge and familiarity.
Co-Editors: Mike Finch (email@example.com), Marta Lukacovic (firstname.lastname@example.org), Mo Minielli (email@example.com) and Sergei Samoilenko (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Deadline for chapter proposal: June 15, 2019
The Communication Studies book focuses on human communication (loosely labeled), and will have chapters on propaganda, rhetoric, argumentation, linguistics, translations studies, interpersonal communication, group communication, organizational communication, political communication, and intercultural communication. It will also have 3 introductory chapters on communication studies pedagogy, cultural tensions of communication studies in regions of limited rights/freedoms, and Western scholarly writing/publishing issues.
The Traditional and New Media Studies book focuses on mass communication, and will have chapters on public relations, newspapers, mediated communication, memory studies, health communication, media ecology, grassroots activism, and urban communication. It will also have 4 introductory chapters on public relations pedagogy,higher education institutional constraints on a journalism and mass communication department, journalism ethics, and issues associated with creating and running an international communication journal.
Both books are simultaneously separate but connected due to the central idea of sharing information with another. Some chapters could qualify to fulfill more than one designated category in the other book. Collectively we want to illustrate the breadth and depth of communication by an eclectic group of high-level scholars. With that in mind, both books will provide the highest quality of scholarship and most comprehensive discussion of communication and mass communications studies in Eurasia, Eastern and Central Europe, and Central Asia. We expect these books to be used in the classroom, for reference and citation purposes, for study abroad trips, and to inform global practitioners of the areas represented.
We have several goals for both books and our overall project:
- Showcase scholars and their current works to an American/Western/Global audience and close gaps between international scholars and practitioners.
- Discuss contemporary issues and concerns related to communication and mass communications study as well as offer new, significant information that can serve to inform work being conducted at a variety of educational strata and create a broad theoretical, research, and practice knowledge base.
- Support each book by explaining and illustrating how communication and mass communications subfields are related and can learn from each other at the conceptual, theoretical, methodological, and practical levels.
- Make theoretical and practical understanding of communication and mass communications accessible to practitioners.
Parallel Writing Structure and Content, and Project Questions for Authors to Answer
We would like to create some type of parallel writing structure and content for all chapters in both books. We have requested authors follow the suggested chapter headers in the Manuscript Guidelines as one means of creating parallel writing structure and content.
Another means to provide that parallelism is to ask authors to peer-review first chapter drafts from another author that will allow you to explain how an aspect of your chapter overlaps with another contributor’s chapter, like common topics, theorists, methodologies, and the like.
A third means toward parallelism is to ask authors to answer the following common questions to facilitate the understanding between book chapters of your volume, between the two books, between practitioner and academic perspectives, and between the subfields that authors represent.
- What is/are the main points of your chapter?
- How does your chapter illustrate communication studies or traditional and new media studies?
- What is the most important information you would like international scholars and practitioners to know?
We have overlapping timelines for chapter drafts and final submissions for both books. Your kind adherence to these deadlines will be greatly appreciated and allow us to submit final manuscripts on time to meet the publisher’s deadlines and publication schedule.
Call for Applications: International Workshop on Shadow Practices, Policy and Development
International Workshop: From Economic to Political Informality - Exploring the Link Between Shadow Practices, Policy Making and Development
University of Lund, Sweden
Date: 17-19 September 2019
Deadline for submissions: 15th May 2019
Rationale and main aims of the workshops
While early works on informality mostly explored its economic aspects (shadow economies, informal sector), recent studies have unveiled the multi-faceted nature of informality. From ways to get things done at the top political level (Ledeneva 2013) to everyday resistance (Scott 1985, 2012), informality has been regarded as an integral part of governance structures and mechanisms (Polese et al. 2017). For this workshop, we give continuity to the classification of the four "flavours of informality" (Polese 2019) to regard informal practices as an act of deliberate, if unorganised, non-compliance with formal instructions. At the everyday level, these actions may remain isolated and sterile. However, once they are embraced regularly by a significant portion of a given population they may come to renegotiate, or even reject, policy measures that are regarded, consciously or unconsciously, as inappropriate for a given situation context.
Footing on these assumptions, with this event, we propose to shift attention away from informality perceived, especially at the everyday level, as a mere survival strategy to think in a different direction. When people produce similar, or even the same, patterns of behaviour, informality can acquire political significance and reshape the way policies are implemented in a given context.
Starting from the above assumptions, our workshop has a three-fold goal.
First, it will expand the scope of theoretical research on informality beyond its economic understanding at the national level, something pointed out by studies by Dixit (2007), Helmke and Levitsky (2005) and Stone (2010) as necessary, but not yet systematically studied. We will look at the role of informal practices in the redefinition and renegotiation of business environments and how entrance and exit barriers are created, causing the reversal that state-led measures were intended to bring about.
Second, it will apply this interpretative framework to look at the way policymaking, and development policies, are affected by informality in the transitional world. This will eventually allow us to engage with worldwide debates from a comparative perspective. Our departure point is the post-socialist region, where informality has been widely studied. However, with this workshop, we intend to upscale the scope of our inquiry to Southeast Asia, Africa, Latin America.
Third, inasmuch as this has been timidly attempted so far, our event represents a chance to establish and develop a research group on informality that can work on further conceptualizations of the relationship between informality, policy-making and development at a global scale. We anticipate some of the contributions to be invited into an edited volume (we have a preliminary agreement with Routledge). In addition, should we have enough papers with a profound theoretical engagement, we will consider pulling together a special issue of a journal
As a result, we welcome contributions focusing on the following list of topics (the list is non-exhaustive and we are open to considering further perspectives and foci):
- Measuring informality: novel and mixed methods for the measurement of informal practices, their effects and the rationale behind the desire (active or passive) to engage with informal practices in different contexts and with different ends
- Informality and policymaking: studies on the relationship between the formal and the informal; how informal practices affect policymaking at the top level (negotiations of laws and rules, power relations between parties, groups, economic actors); how individuals, groups and non-state actors react, oppose, renegotiate policy measures at the everyday level
- Informality and international development: explorations on the role of informal practices in a North-South development context; how instructions by international and development organizations are filtered, renegotiated or opposed when going against the interests of powerful individuals, interest groups, lobbies; how individuals (especially the weak, the marginalized, the poor) react to measures that they do not perceive as necessary, useful or beneficial
Given our initial specialization, our starting point has been the post-socialist world. However, we would like to use this workshop to expand the upscale the scope of our inquiry to a global scale in an attempt to construct comparisons with other world countries and regions.
- You will be notified by the 1st of June 2019 on whether your abstract has been accepted. Please note that the dates might slightly change (1-2 days later) but we will send the final dates along with the acceptance letter
- Meals and accommodation during the workshop is covered for all accepted speakers
- There is limited availability of funds to cover travel to and from Lund. If you expect to be unable to get support from your institution, please add this information in your abstract
How to apply
If interested, please send by the 15th of May 2019 in a single word document named after your surname containing:
- An abstract and your contact details (300 words)
- A short biographical statement (300 words)
- Whether you need financial support for your travel
CFP: The Sharing Economy - New HRM Theories and Practices?
The sharing economy: New HRM theories and practices? A call for papers for a special issue in Personnel Review
Dr Yuliani Suseno (Centre for Work and Organisational Performance,Edith Cowan University, Australia) and
Professor Chris Rowley (Kellogg College, University of Oxford; Cass Business School, City University of London)
Submission Deadline: 30th April 2019
Submission Process and Deadlines
The journal Personnel Review is focused on providing articles that address contemporary challenges to HRM theory, policy and practice. This Special Issue thus seeks manuscripts that can potentially provide interesting insights for HR leaders with strong theoretical underpinnings to public discourse on the sharing economy. The main objective of this Special Issue is to advance theoretical and empirical insights of the sharing economy through new theories and HR practices to close the gap between theoretical and practical development in the topic of the sharing economy. Manuscripts, individually and collectively, need to address the overall research question on how the sharing economy brings about changes in work paradigm and HR practices.
We invite manuscripts that make considerable contributions to the existing body of knowledge that address, but not restricted, on the following:
- How has work and its implications for HRM and International HRM been transformed as a result of the sharing economy?
- To what extent can HR practices in the sharing economy build on previous related theories such as the dual labour market theory and the flexible firm theory?
- How do the sharing economy stakeholders and players engage and motivate employees?
- Do sharing economy players require distinct human resource-capability configurations?
- In what ways are independent contractors and temporary workers in the sharing economy being recruited, selected, developed and retained?
- What are the different ways by which HR policies and practices such as employee training and development can be implemented in the sharing economy?
- What is the role of traditional HR policies and practices such as performance management in the sharing economy?
- How are employee engagement, employee participation and high performance work systems implemented in the sharing economy?
- How do ethics, values, trust and conflict resolution influence employment and the management of contractors and temporary workers in the sharing economy?
- How do the sharing economy players use HRM policies and practices to respond to disruptive innovations brought by the sharing economy?
- How has employment in the sharing economy impacted on employee health, safety and well-being?
- What are the consequences of changing HR practices in the sharing economy for multiple stakeholders, including economic, social and environmental actors?
Please find further background to the special issue here.
CFP: Character Assassination and Populism - Challenges and Responses
Call for Conference Papers: Character Assassination and Populism: Challenges and Responses
Host: Lab for Character Assassination and Reputation Politics (CARP)
Location: George Mason University (Arlington Campus), Arlington, Virginia
Dates: March 15-17, 2019
Submission Deadline: November 15, 2018
Character assassination (CA) is the deliberate destruction of an individual’s reputation. This is a timeless phenomenon that appears in many shapes and forms in every cultural, political, and technological epoch. Various CA practices such as lies, insinuations and ridicule have been effective means of persuasion and influence in power struggles for centuries. As a field of scholarship, the study of character assassination has been experiencing a remarkable academic renaissance. An increased academic interest in the issue led to the formation of the Research Lab for Character Assassination and Reputation Politics (CARP), hosted at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia. CARP’s inaugural conference, dedicated to the theory and practice of character assassination and reputation management, was held at George Mason University in March 2017.
One primary characteristic of today’s global society is the growing public distrust in many traditional authorities, including political institutions and the mass media. In the context of institutional legitimacy crisis, there is a great demand for new voices to trust. These changes provide opportunities for populists and charismatic opinion leaders of all kinds to promote their agendas and influence public opinion. There is no generally accepted definition of populism, but a claim to speak for “the people” against a corrupt “elite”, a preoccupation with national identity, and a preference for emotional appeals over rational arguments are often counted among its key characteristics.
Populists frequently use character attacks strategically to shock their audiences and steal the media spotlight. Their inflammatory rhetoric conjures political ratings, generates hype, and manipulates public consensus. Populist persuasion practices are directly related to social judgment formation and may distract people from deliberating on alternative and relevant campaign arguments. Importantly, populist politicians become primary newsmakers for clickbait content in the media that proliferates personal opinions, falsehoods, and unwarranted ad hominem attacks. Belligerent rhetoric also normalizes the culture of incivility which has negative consequences for civil debate in a well-functioning democracy.
We invite scholars to submit research and works in progress which will discuss character assassination and populism from a variety of disciplinary and cultural angles. We welcome both theoretical work and case studies.
- CA and populism in a historical perspective;
- Belligerent populist rhetoric and hate speech;
- Populist psychology, charisma, and underlying conditions;
- Populist persuasion and impression management;
- Political incivility and polarization issues;
- Ad hominem attacks in political debate;
- Framing wars in policy debate;
- CA and mediated public scandals;
- CA and information warfare in international relations;
- Character attacks on science and scientists;
- Personalization and infotainment issues in mass media;
- Memes, caricatures, and visual distortion online;
- CA, image repair, and inoculation strategies;
- CA as strategic deception and deliberate misinformation;
- Legal aspects of libel, slander, and defamation.
Please submit a 250-word abstract of your paper by the deadline listed above. Email the abstract as an attachment to Sergei A. Samoilenko at email@example.com.
CFP: Informal Housing and Property Rights in the Countries of the Former Soviet Bloc
Workshop: Informal Housing and Property Rights in the Countries of the Former Soviet Bloc
Date: November 29-30, 2018
Venue: ISEK-Social Anthropology, University of Zurich, Andreasstrasse 15, CH-Zurich 8050
It is often assumed that there was practically no squatting and violation of property rights in former socialist countries. This rests on the assumption that the private property was either abolished or limited, and that the state took over the role of social provider which apart from universal health care included cheap and affordable housing. But the recent scholarship has contested these assumptions, and the studies on squatting (of land and buildings alike for establishing residence) in Eastern Europe and Central Asia have revealed a variety of informal practices related to housing. Furthermore, these practices have continued in these societies after the fall of socialism and are rather to be seen as the consequences of intensive rural to urban migration as well as the shift to market economy.
We invite scholars working on the topics of informal housing and property rights in the Eastern European and Central Asian countries to submit a short abstract of a paper to be presented during the workshop by August 31st, 2018 (max. 300 words). The aim of the workshop is to work towards an edited volume with the workshop contributions.
We have been able to secure some funding to cover costs of our workshop participants, especially from Eastern Europe and Central Asia. If you have other funding possibilities from your own universities or elsewhere, we will appreciate your financial assistance.
Should you have questions, please feel free to contact us. Pre-Christmas Zurich is beautiful and magical. We are looking forward to welcoming you in Zurich to share this Swiss beauty and magic along with important discussions!
Jovana Dikovic, Eliza Isabaeva, Benjamin Kälin
CFP: Informal networks ‒ The dark and the bright side of managing informally
Informal networks ‒ The dark and the bright side of managing informally, a special issue of Management and Organization Review (MOR)
- Sven Horak, St. John’s University, New York, USA
- Fida Afiouni, American University of Beirut, Lebanon
- Yanjie Bian, University of Minnesota, USA and Xi'an Jiantong University, China
- Alena Ledeneva, University College London, UK
- Maral Muratbekova-Touron, ESCP Europe, France
MOR Deputy editor:
- Carl Fey, Aalto University, Finland and Chinese University of Hong Kong, China
Submission deadline (full paper): 31 January 2019
Research on the mechanisms of organizing and managing via interpersonal relations has a rich history in the management and organization-oriented literature. So far, however, the informal dimension of managing and organizing by drawing on informal networks in an international context has received comparably less attention. Recent research has pointed out that social capital and network theories have largely been developed by Western scholars based on circumstances and social structures that are typical of Western societies. Thus, current theory takes into account to a lesser extent their character and nature and the way in which informal ties and networks are formed in other parts of the world(Ledeneva, 2018; Li, 2007b; Qi, 2013; Sato, 2010). Besides the growing body of literature concerned with informal ties and networks in emerging and transitioning countries, for example guanxi (China), blat/ svyazi (Russia), and wasta (Arab World), a trend for analyzing pervasive informal networks in advanced and industrialized economies, such as yongo (Korea), has arisen. While insights from the latter research stream indicate that informal networks persist, the results generated in both research streams will help in developing the extant informal network theories further.
With this MOR special issue, the guest editors aim to advance these trends by shedding light on the ambivalent operating modes of informal networks. Although informality can be regarded as a normal approach or the status quo of managing and organizing in many parts of the world, it tends to have a bitter aftertaste in the Western world (Ledeneva, 1998), since terms such as favoritism, nepotism, cronyism, or even corruption are at times perceived to be equivalents. Given the importance of informal coordination in many of the largest economies in the world (e.g., China, India, Russia, and the former Soviet Union states, the Arab world, or South America), there is a need to understand better the dark and the bright side of managing and organizing through informal networks.
Theoretical framing to analyze informal networks has been provided by several increasingly intertwined access points with roots in sociology or economics (Hennart, 2015). A typical approach to analyzing informal networks has been to use a social network and/or social capital frame. Granovetter (1973, 2017) sharpened the understanding of social networks by introducing different types (natures) of ties for network organization to the literature. Burt (1995) and Coleman (1988) contributed to it with their work on the specific structures of social networks and their respective parameters. The concept of social capital has been used as a frame to discuss informal ties (Bourdieu, 1986; Burt, 1992; Putnam, 1995; Tsai & Ghoshal, 1998) by addressing the ‘intangible,’ informal mechanisms supporting economic interaction in social networks, for example by means of the shared norms and values that evolve in societies. Viewed from a broader perspective, informal networks can be characterized as an informal institution, since they set ‘the rules of the game,’ as famously described by Douglass North, by drawing on customs and traditions, values, norms, or beliefs that influence behavior and decision making (North, 1990). Typically they are said to be of greater importance for the coordination of activities in transitional economies, where formal institutions (e.g., contracts, formal rules, law, courts, etc.) are ineffective or non-existent (North, 1990; Peng, Pinkham, Sun, & Chen, 2009). This follows the rather popular view that, as soon as formal institutions develop towards effectiveness, informal networks may disappear, as people may rather draw on ways to coordinate activities that are formal and often regarded as more reliable. However, recent research has shown that informal institutions can persist even in environments in which formal institutions have been firmly established, which makes gaining an understanding of informal networks even more important (Horak, 2014; Horak & Klein, 2016; Li, 1998, 2007a, 2007b).
Progress has been achieved in increasing the understanding of informal networks in respective countries, such as guanxi in China (Bian, 1997, 2017; Li, 2007a, 2007b; Luo, 2000; Opper, Nee, & Holm, 2017, Chen and Chen, 2009, Chen, Chen and Huang, 2013), blat and svyazi in Russia (Ledeneva, 1998, 2006; Smith et al., 2012; Yakubovich, 2005), yongo in South Korea (Horak, 2014; Horak & Klein, 2016; Horak & Taube, 2016), clanism in Kazakhstan (Minbaeva & Muratbekova-Touron, 2013), or wasta in the Arab world (Abosag & Lee, 2013; Al-Husan, Al-Hussan, & Fletcher-Chen, 2014; Hutchings & Weir, 2006). Though recent insights have complemented the extant knowledge, informal network research in an international context is still in its infancy, with the bulk of the research interest concentrating on guanxi. Despite the progress that has been achieved, there is a need to broaden the scope by taking a holistic and more inclusive view of informal networks, thereby extending the knowledge base upon which an integrative informal network theory can emerge. To achieve this, there is still a knowledge gap to fill concerning both sides of the coin, that is, the dark side and the bright side of informal networking. The latter refers, for instance, to an often-high level of trust between network members, a high level of sociability, a reduction of transaction costs, and a reduction of the risk of free riding of network members. The dark side of informal networking, on the contrary, relates to its vulnerability to corruption in any form, favoritism, and nepotism, to name a few examples. Important theoretical questions in this regard remain unanswered so far, such as:
- When and under which conditions are informal networks perceived positively or negatively? Which factors influence the positive versus negative perception of informal networks?
- When and under which conditions do informal networks support illegal or unethical practices?
- How do informal institutions (e.g., corruption) and formal institutions (e.g., laws) interact? How do they influence each other?
- How can positive network effects be nurtured and negative ones extinguished?
- What are the implications for international business ethics theory as a consequence of the dark side–bright side discussion concerning informal networking?
In addition to the theoretical knowledge gaps mentioned above, multinational corporations (MNCs) deal either consciously or, more likely, unconsciously with informal networks in respective markets worldwide. However, we do not know much about how MNCs manage informally, that is, whether systematic processes are in place to manage informal ties, as reported by Kim (2007) in the case of Samsung, or whether they are hidden and treated discretely or even avoided or intentionally ignored. In any case, MNCs must decide whether engaging in informal networking is ethical, given the ambivalence of informal networks, that is, the existence of a dark and a bright side.
The special issue aims to add, extend, and complement the current theory. The special issue is very open to studies inside a firm as well as between firms. We expect manuscripts to bring strong empirical contributions that develop and extend theory as well as more conceptual papers that integrate critique and expand existing theory. We encourage the use of methods that are appropriate to both the research context and research questions and therefore welcome both qualitative and quantitative methods of investigation and analysis. Contributions should report original research that is not under consideration at any other journal. Papers should fit but are not limited to the following themes:
- How can the dark side of informal networks be described in its respective local or an international context? How are informal networks misused?
- How can the bright side of informal networks be described in its respective local or an international context? How do positive features turn into negative ones?
- Construct knowledge: How can respective informal networks be characterized in terms of their structure and nature? What are the differences from the extant theory?
- How can foreign staff (e.g., expatriates) become members of respective informal networks? Can these networks be used without becoming members?
- Which questions important to international business ethics arise in connection to the involvement in and usage of informal networks? Should informal networks be judged through the ethical lens at all? How is culture intertwined with respective informal networks?
- How do local or multinational firms deal with informal networks in respective markets? Can they be ‘formalized’ and managed?
- Does engaging in informal networking oppose the corporate code of conduct of MNCs?
- How do and/or should firms deal with potential information flowing or being exchanged through informal networks in cases in which employees are more loyal to their informal networks than to a firm’s code of conduct? Can intellectual property be protected in such a dynamic environment?
Submission information: This call for papers is open and competitive, and all submitted papers will be subjected to anonymous review by referees with expertise in the field.
Full paper shall be submitted by 31 January 2019 via the MOR (Cambridge) website: https://mc.manuscriptcentral.com/mor
It is important that all papers for the special issue conform to MOR’s submission requirements published under the following link: https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/management-and-organization-review/information/instructions-contributors
Special Issue PDW Workshop: Consistent with the new MOR Special Issues process, the guest editors will organize a PDW workshop as part of a major conference in the Summer of 2019. The Editor in Chief of MOR will attend this PDW. The workshop is central to the process of finalizing the papers to be included in the special issue and provides the guest editors and authors further help in framing the special issue and final guidance for revisions for papers that will be published in the special issue or in a regular issue of the journal. The guest editors will update the authors on where the event will be held once the time and place is decided.
Timeline (plan): January 31, 2019 – Deadline for uploading full paper.
April 15, 2019 – 1st round decision (revise & resubmit /reject)
Summer 2019 – Special PDW Workshop (time and place to be announced)
Tentative publication date – end of 2020
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CFP: Informal institutions and international business
Informal institutions and international business - A special issue of the Journal of International Business Studies
- Luis Alfonso Dau (Northeastern University, USA, L.Dau@northeastern.edu)
- Aya Chacar (Florida International University, USA, firstname.lastname@example.org)
- Marjorie Lyles (Indiana University, USA, email@example.com)
- Jiatao Li (Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, Hong Kong, firstname.lastname@example.org)
Deadline for submission: August 31, 2018
Tentative publication date: Spring 2020
This call invites papers focusing on the relationship between informal institutions and international business. In this special issue, we understand institutions to be “humanly devised constraints” or “the rules of the game in a society” (North, 1990: 3). Much attention has been paid to formal institutions, or the written (or codified) rules or constraints, such as laws, regulations, constitutions, contracts, property rights, and formal agreements. On the other hand, much less attention has been given to informal institutions or the typically unwritten but socially shared rules and constraints (Pejovich, 1999; Sartor & Beamish, 2014; Sauerwald & Peng, 2013). These informal institutions include common values, cognitions, beliefs, traditions, customs, sanctions, and norms of behavior that are often expected or taken for granted (North, 1990, 2005). In common parlance, the term ‘institutions’ is often used to refer to ‘organizations’ (e.g., governments, international organizations, non-governmental organizations, etc.), but it is important to distinguish between institutions and organizations for academic purposes in order to examine the relationship between them (Chacar, Celo, & Hesterly, 2017; North, 1990, 2005; Scott, 2013). For instance, the WTO is an organization that provides a formal institutional framework of written rules to which its member countries agree to adhere. Simultaneously, membership in the WTO creates informal (or unwritten) institutional structures between member nations, such as reciprocity and interdependency expectations. Papers examining the interaction of formal and informal institutions on international business are also welcome.
In the advent of globalization, the international business literature has increasingly emphasized the importance of considering the institutional environment, instead of studying firm behavior in a vacuum (Dau, 2012, 2013, 2017; Eden, 2010; Kostova, 1997, Kostova et al., 2008; Li, 2013; Li & Qian, 2013). Still, a gap exists in our understanding of informal institutions, as formal institutions only provide part of the picture (North, 1990). This gap is particularly problematic in developing and emerging markets, where informal institutions may have a more prominent role, enabling and facilitating business transactions (Khanna & Palepu, 1997, 2000; Verbeke & Kano, 2013).
Note that this special issue invites papers on informal institutions and not culture, although submissions may examine their relationship and tease out the differences between the two constructs as they relate to international business. Some prior work has treated culture and informal institutions as synonymous. However, these two terms are distinct albeit they can overlap at times. Definitions of culture vary in the literature, but it is typically defined as “the collective programming of the human mind that distinguishes the members of one human group from those of another. Culture in this sense is a system of collectively held values” (Hofstede, 1984: 51). It “is the deeper level of basic assumptions and beliefs” (Schein, 1985: 6-7; see also, Hofstede, 1980, 1994; House et al., 2004; Schein, 2004; Tung & Verbeke, 2010). Informal institutions, on the other hand, are the actual unwritten rules and norms of behavior (North, 1990, 2005), which likely arise as a result of and in conjunction with the cultural framework, but also of formal structures in place in a given location. For instance, whereas culture is often captured with broad dimensions such as the degree of uncertainty avoidance (Hofstede, 1980), embeddedness (Schwartz, 1992), or assertiveness (House, et al., 2004), informal institutions specifically refer to the shared unwritten rules or norms in a society, organization, or other social grouping.
Interdisciplinary Work and Work from Different Perspectives
Interdisciplinary work and research from different institutional perspectives is particularly welcome. Campbell (2004) has identified three main “institutional theories”: rational choice institutionalism (or institutional economics/comparative institutional analyses) (North, 1990; Williamson, 1975, 1985, 2000), organizational institutionalism (or neo-institutional theory) (DiMaggio & Powell, 1991; Scott, 1987, 2013), and historical institutionalism (or institutional sociology) (Granovetter, 1985, 1992, 2017). These theoretical strands are associated primarily with economics, political science, and sociology, respectively, but have been used across disciplines using other names as well (Campbell, 2004).
Submissions should make a clear and novel theoretical contribution, but may build on any theoretical lens (e.g., internalization theory, resource based view, transaction cost economics, evolutionary theory, learning theory, agency theory, etc.) in addition to the institutional theories (Cantwell et al., 2010; Dunning & Lundan, 2008, 2010). What is critical is to use the institutional framework to help develop new theoretical insights.
Furthermore, we encourage work that provides novel ways of measuring informal institutions.
Given the limited attention on the effects of informal institutions on firms, as well as on the joint effects of formal and informal institutions on firms, this call for papers is purposefully broad. The following is not an exhaustive list, but provides some examples of potential topics:
1. How do informal institutions, and their interactions with formal institutions, affect firms?
- What is their impact on firm strategy across borders (e.g., internationalization decisions, location choices, mode of entry decisions, entrepreneurship, global corporate social responsibility, global innovation, etc.) (Dau & Cuervo-Cazurra, 2014; Pejovich, 1999)?
- Are some of these institutions or combinations of institutions in different markets more conducive to firm success (Chacar, Newburry, & Vissa, 2010)?
- How do firms organize internally to improve their institutional fit across countries? What structures and organizational models do they choose under different institutional conditions?
- How do organizations learn the informal rules and develop international capabilities to manage them (Easterby-Smith & Lyles, 2011; Lyles, 2014)? How do resources and capabilities vary in these differing institutional contexts?
- How does informal knowledge sharing or know-how sharing take place? How do inter- and intra-organizational learning systems and knowledge transfer relate to informal vis-à-vis formal institutional information and knowledge?
- Do informal rules and governance choices allow unethical choices that are covered up? What happens if they are exposed?
- What is the relationship between governance choices and the use of informal institutional structures, such as relational contracting based on favors, trust, reciprocity, interdependency, family ties, social capital networks, mutually beneficial relationships, interpersonal connections, and business group networks (Vissa, Greve, & Chen, 2010)? What is the specific role of informal structures such as Guanxi/Guanxiwang in China, Blats/Svyazy in Russia, Wasta in the Arab World, Immak in Korea, Kankei in Japan, Jeito/Jeitinho in Brazil, and ‘grease’ payments (Batjargal, 2007; Chen et al., 2004; Chua et al., 2009; Ledeneva, 1998; Millington et al., 2005; Opper et al., 2017; Park & Luo, 2001; Smith et al., 2012; Zhou et al., 2007)?
- How do informal institutions alter the value distributions among stakeholders (Chacar & Hesterly, 2008; Coff, 1999; Lieberman & Chacar, 1997)?
- How does the nature of competition and industry structure change with the informal institutional structure? Are foreign and local firms affected differently (Chacar & Vissa, 2005)?
2. How do these institutions change and how do actors and organizations affect them (Vaccaro & Palazzo, 2015)?
- How do firms engage in non-market strategies to affect informal and formal institutions and institutional structures/frameworks?
- How do firms influence formal and informal institutions in different ways?
- What is the impact of informal institutions on international organizations (e.g., international non-governmental organizations [INGOs], inter-governmental organizations [IGOs], international non-profit organizations [INPOs], etc.) and how do these organizations affect informal institutions?
Research Across Levels of Analysis
Although institutions are typically conceptualized at the national level of analysis, they may also be conceptualized at other levels, such as the supranational, regional, corporate, subsidiary, functional area, or workgroup/team levels of analysis. Papers focusing on informal institutions at different levels are also welcome. In particular, papers that study informal institutions across levels of analysis are particularly welcome. Some examples follow:
- How are informal supranational institutions (i.e., hyper norms that cross borders) and formal supranational institutions (i.e., international laws, rules, regulations, and agreements) shaped by globalization and how does this affect international business?
- How are supranational informal and formal institutions impacted by the diversity in informal and formal national environments and how does this complicate international business? Similarly, how can firms cope with or even benefit from such differences?
- When do the informal and formal institutional frameworks of a firm clash and when are they compatible with the informal and formal institutional environments of their home and host countries of operation?
- How can firms align informal and formal institutions across their international subsidiaries or across their areas of operation to enhance their international efficiency, growth, and performance?
- How do business group informal institutional structures and networks operate and what are the implications for international business?
- How do firms manage informal institutional differences across their international units (headquarters/subsidiaries), functional areas, or work groups?
- Do MNEs provide a means of reducing informal and formal institutional differences across nations?
Conference and Symposium
With the aim of helping the authors further develop their papers, we will organize a paper development workshop conference during the spring of 2019. We will invite the authors of papers that receive the option to revise and resubmit their manuscripts. Together with the review process, the opportunity to present and receive comments from discussants and conference participants, will aid authors in strengthening and refining their papers.
Furthermore, we plan to have a symposium at a major academic conference in 2020 for the final selected papers that will appear in the special issue, in order to increase their visibility and impact.
Submission Process and Deadlines
Submissions need to meet JIBS guidelines, including in terms of what is considered international business. Typically, single country studies are only considered international if they focus on international firms or firm internationalization. Furthermore, submission should have implications for international business, although they may also have secondary implications for other fields.
All manuscripts will be reviewed as a cohort for this Special Issue. Manuscripts must be submitted between August 17-31, at http://mc.manuscriptcentral.com/jibs. All submissions will go through the JIBS regular double-blind review process and follow the standard norms and processes.
For more information about this Call for Papers, please contact the Special Issue Editors or the JIBS Managing Editor (email@example.com).
Batjargal, B. 2007. Network triads: transitivity, referral and venture capital decisions in China and Russia. Journal of International Business Studies, 38(6): 998-1012.
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Cantwell, J.L., Dunning, J.H. and Lundan, S.M. 2010. An evolutionary approach to understanding international business activity: The co-evolution of MNEs and the institutional environment. Journal of International Business Studies, 41(4): 567-586.
Chacar, A.S., & Hesterly, W. 2008. Institutional settings and rent appropriation by knowledge‐based employees: the case of Major League Baseball. Managerial and Decision Economics, 29(2‐3), 117-136.
Chacar, A.S., Newburry, W., & Vissa, B. 2010. Bringing institutions into performance persistence research: Exploring the impact of product, financial, and labor market institutions. Journal of International Business Studies, 41(7), 1119-1140.
Chacar, A.S., & Vissa, B. 2005. Are emerging economies less efficient? Performance persistence and the impact of business group affiliation. Strategic Management Journal, 26(10), 933-946.
Chacar, A.S., Celo, S. & Hesterly 2017. The Rules of the Game in MLB: Do Formal or Informal Institutions Change First? Business History, in press: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00076791.2017.1342811.
Chen, C.C., Chen, Y.R., and Xin, K. 2004. Guanxi practices and trust in management: A procedural justice perspective. Organization Science, 15(2): 200-209.
Chua, R.Y., Morris, M.W., and Ingram, P. 2009. Guanxi vs. networking: Distinctive configurations of affect-and cognition-based trust in the networks of Chinese vs. American managers. Journal of International Business Studies, 40(3): 490-508.
Coff, R.W. 1999. When competitive advantage doesn't lead to performance: The resource-based view and stakeholder bargaining power. Organization science, 10(2), 119-133.
Dau, L.A. 2012. Pro-market reforms and developing country multinational corporations. Global Strategy Journal, 2(3): 262-276.
Dau, L.A. 2013. Learning across geographic space: Pro-market reforms, multinationalization strategy, and profitability. Journal of International Business Studies, 44(3): 235-262.
Dau, L.A. 2017. Contextualizing international learning: The moderating effects of mode of entry and subsidiary networks on the relationship between reforms and profitability. Journal of World Business, in press: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jwb.2016.10.005.
Dau, L.A. and Cuervo-Cazurra, A. 2014. To Formalize or Not to Formalize: Entrepreneurship and pro-Market Institutions. Journal of Business Venturing, 29(5): 668-686.
DiMaggio, P.J. and Powell, W.W. (eds.) 1991. The new institutionalism in organizational analysis (Vol. 17). Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.
Dunning, J.H. and Lundan, S.M. 2008. Institutions and the OLI paradigm of the multinational enterprise. Asia Pacific Journal of Management, 25(4): 573–593.
Dunning, J. H. and Lundan, S.M. 2010. The institutional origins of dynamic capabilities in multinational enterprises. Industrial and Corporate Change, 19(4): 1225-1246.
Easterby-Smith, M., and Lyles, M.A. (Eds.) 2011. Handbook of Organizational Learning and Knowledge Management. New York: John Willey and Sons.
Eden, L. 2010. Letter from the Editor-in-Chief: Lifting the veil on how institutions matter in IB research. Journal of International Business Studies, 41.2: 175-177.
Granovetter, M. 1985. Economic action and social structure: The problem of embeddedness. American Journal of Sociology, 91: 481–510.
Granovetter, M. 1992. Economic institutions as social constructions: A framework for analysis. Acta Sociologica, 35(1): 3-11.
Granovetter, M. 2017. Society and economy: Framework and principles. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Hofstede, G. 1980. Culture’s consequences: International differences in work-related values. Beverly Hills, CA: Sage.
Hofstede, G. 1984. National cultures and corporate cultures. In L.A. Samovar, R.E. Porter (Eds.), Communication between cultures. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.
Hofstede, G. 1994. The business of international business is culture. International Business Review, 3(1): 1–14.
House, R.J., Hanges, P.J., Javidan, M., Dorfman, P.W., & Gupta, V. (Eds.). 2004. Culture, leadership and organizations: The GLOBE study of 62 societies. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
Khanna, T. and Palepu, K.G. 1997. Why focused strategies may be wrong for emerging markets. Harvard Business Review, 75(4): 41-51.
Khanna, T. and Palepu, K.G. 2000. The future of business groups in emerging markets: Long-run evidence from Chile. Academy of Management Journal, 43: 268-285.
Kostova, T. 1997. Country institutional profiles: Concept and measurement. Academy of Management Proceedings, 180-183.
Kostova, T., Roth, K. and Dacin, M.T. 2008. Institutional theory in the study of multinational corporations: A critique and new directions. Academy of Management Review, 33(4): 994-1006.
Ledeneva, A.V. 1998. Russia’s economy of favors: Blat, networking, and informal exchange. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
Li, J.T. 2013. The Internationalization of Entrepreneurial Firms from Emerging Economies: The Roles of Institutional Transitions and Market Opportunities. Journal of International Entrepreneurship, 11(2): 158-171.
Li, J.T and Qian, C. 2013. Principal-Principal Conflicts under Weak Institutions: A Study of Corporate Takeovers in China. Strategic Management Journal, 34: 498-508.
Lieberman, M. & Chacar, A.S. 1997. Distribution of Returns among Stakeholders: Method and Application to U.S. and Japanese Companies . In Thomas, Howard and O’Neal, Don (Eds.) 1997, Strategic Discovery: Competing in New Arenas. John Wiley & Sons Ltd: London, UK.
Lyles, M.A. 2014. Organizational Learning, knowledge creation, problem formulation and innovation in messy problems. European Management Journal, 32(1): 132-136.
Millington, A., Eberhardt, M., and Wilkinson, B. 2005. Gift giving, guanxi and illicit payments in buyer–supplier relations in China: Analysing the experience of UK companies. Journal of Business Ethics, 57(3): 255-268.
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Opper, S., Nee, V. and Holm, H. 2017. Risk Aversion and Guanxi Activities: A Behavioral Analysis of CEOs in China. Academy of Management Journal, 60(4): 1504-1530.
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Sartor, M.A. and Beamish, P.W. 2014. Offshoring innovation to emerging markets: Organizational control and informal institutional distance. Journal of International Business Studies, 45(9): 1072-1095.
Sauerwald, S., & Peng, M.W. 2013. Informal institutions, shareholder coalitions, and principal–principal conflicts. Asia Pacific Journal of Management, 30(3), 853-870.
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About the Guest Editors
Luis Alfonso Dau is an associate professor of International Business and Strategy at the D’Amore-McKim School of Business at Northeastern University. His research focuses on the strategic responses of emerging market firms to institutional processes and changes. He is particularly interested in the impact of regulatory reforms on the international strategy and performance of such firms.
Aya Chacar is an Professor in Management and International Business and Ingersoll-Rand Chaired Professor at Florida International University. She holds a PhD in Strategy and Organization from University of California, Los Angeles. Her research interests are on the interaction of institutions and globalization on firm organization and leadership, strategy and performance, strategic human assets and value appropriation. Marjorie Lyles is Professor of International Strategic Management at Indiana University Kelley School of Business and the Kimball Faculty Fellow. She was founding Director of the Indiana University Center on Southeast Asia. She is a member of the American Management Association's International Council and has been an Invited Scholar and consultant for the U.S. Department of Commerce in the Peoples' Republic of China. Marjorie's writings center on organizational learning, international strategies and cooperative alliances, and technology development particularly in emerging economies. She is a Fellow of the Academy of International Business and a JIBS Area Editor. Jiatao (JT) Li is Lee Quo Wei Professor of Business, Head and Chair Professor of Management, and the Senior Associate Dean of the HKUST Business School, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. His current research interests are in the areas of organizational learning, strategic alliances, corporate governance, innovation, and entrepreneurship, with a focus on issues related to global firms and those from emerging economies. His work has appeared in top academic journals such as Academy of Management Journal, Academy of Management Review, Journal of International Business Studies, Organization Science, and Strategic Management Journal. He is a Fellow of the Academy of International Business and a JIBS Area Editor.
Mobilities and informality in former socialist spaces (to be published with Palgrave – end 2019 or early 2020)
- Abel Polese, Dublin City University and Tallinn University
- Rano Turaeva, Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology
- Rustamjon Urinbayev, Lund University
We are preparing an edited volume to be published in the Palgrave - International Political Economy series (series editor Timothy Shaw, University of Boston). This call is part of a multi-annual project that started with a workshop on migration and informality (March 27-28 2018, Lund University) and will continue with a conference possibly in summer 2019. With this book we are also gathering expressions for follow-up initiatives. If interested send an abstract by 30 June 2018 to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Traditionally seen as “exporting” migrants to Western Europe and North America, the countries of Central and Eastern Europe, along with the former USSR ones, have recently become important mobility hubs. We start with an understanding of mobility that includes migratory processes to and from these countries. However, and this is the reason we prefer “mobility” to “migration”, we intend to take into account processes that go beyond migratory flows and include, inter alia, consequences of increased mobility for business activities (when mobility of capitals, people, services or items generates revenues, without necessarily resulting from temporary or permanent migrations), or seeking healthcare or other services in places other than your hometown.
We believe that a large share of mobility-related activities generates informality, here defined as activities that happen outside the controlling, or coercing, presence of one or more states, or their institutions. There is a good body of literature dealing with migration, mostly from the region. This volume is, in our view, a way to complement existing literature in at least two ways.
First, initial trends tended to see the region as strategic for outsourcing. However, the improvement of the economic conditions, along with the recent refugee crisis has added a second category of migrants to the region. This has meant that, in addition to the skilled workers, the region has also witnessed an increasing amount of immigration from people with either low qualifications, no legal right to work or stay or simply missing the skills to quickly integrate into local job markets. The issue of legality is only a marginal one. Indeed, the International Organisation for Migrations warns that only 10% of the migrants worldwide are formally illegal, leading us to think that the most important barriers to socio-economic and legal integration are not formal but informal. In this respect, a number of studies have pinpointed at the contrast between the – de jure - existence of norms to deal with migrants against a de facto (partial or total) state incapacity to deal with migration flows and integration of foreign citizens in a number of cases.
Second, in addition to movements of people, the diverse degrees of development across the region (or even within a single country) has generated novel challenges and opportunities. In this respect, mobility can be considered from a number of perspectives, in terms of geographical destinations and workforce demand. Conflicts driven refugee crisis, labour migration, brain-drain and tourism are a few of the forms mobility may take. However, these phenomena are often met by ineffective or incomplete regulations that bring legal and civil codes and rules to be replaced or complemented by other rules and institutions which are practice based and informal (Polese 2016, Turaeva 2014, 2015; Urinboyev and Polese 2016, Williams 2015). In spite of a growing awareness of these issues the body of scholarship dealing with the relationship between mobility and informality, with special reference to the post-socialist region, has remained under-researched.
We thus welcome contributions that can:
1. Provide further empirical evidence on the existence, performance and persistence of informal practices. In particular, we are interested in what informal practices are boosted by the new opportunities provided by increased mobility at the country, region and global level
2. Explore the relationship between mobility patterns and informal practices to consolidate a sub-field of informality studies and contribute to a broader understanding of informal practices in Eastern Europe and the former USSR
Topics examined may include (the list is non-exhaustive):
- economy and employment, including informal labour and migration-related practices
- business practices and how they are affected by increased mobility
- religious practices (informal Mosques, religious healing, religious service)
- legal issues (documentation, border crossing)
- medical service and provision (informal health care and clinics)
- child care and education (informal and home schooling)
- second generation migrants and social, economic or cultural integration issues