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Entries flow in the bottom-up logic in the chapters, thereby tracing the blurred boundaries and grey zones:

  • from more socially acceptable practices to more questionable;
  • from practices driven by survival to practices driven by self- expression;
  • from daily or regular to once- in- a- lifetime needs and the needs of others (brokerage);
  • from more visible practices to less visible (or deliberately made visible or invisible);
  • from more traditional/ universal to more modern/ temporal practices, responding to a particular constraint and disappearing when that constraint is gone.

Each cluster of entries is introduced and concluded by a piece with comparative or conceptual entries, indicated as ‘general’. For example, Chapter 6 on gaming the system benefits from an introduction to the strategies of camouflage (by Philip Hanson); general entries identifying patterns common for the cluster such as cash-in-hand (by Colin Williams), brokerage (by David Jancsics), window dressing (by David Leung), and pyramid schemes (by Leonie Schiffauer); as well as a conclusion with methodological implications for the study of part- time crime and ‘camouflaged’ activities (by Gerald Mars). The authors of conceptual or reflective pieces offer possible perspectives, thematic links and further research questions in order to help the reader with the uneasy tasks of comparing the incomparable and theorising the practice. Such entries themselves constitute a ‘network expertise’ – a coordinated conceptual framework – aimed at tackling complexity through mastering paradoxes; articulating the unspoken and visualising the invisible; finding patterns in the amorphous and formalising the informal; finding similarities in differences and differences in similarities; comparing the incomparable and doing the undoable. Please note, we do not claim the absolute ubiquity of practices in respective societies. Following Olivier de Sardan’s take on culture, we understand social and cultural complexity as ‘a set of practices and representations that investigation has shown to be shared to a significant degree by a given group (or sub-group), in given fields and in given contexts’ (Olivier de Sardan 2015).


Introduction: the informal view of the world – key challenges and main findings of the Global Informality Project by Alena Ledeneva

Volume 1

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
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

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

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
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