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About this project

The Global Encyclopaedia of Informality is an interdisciplinary research project led by UCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies. It provides the first multimedia online resource that explores informal practices and structures from a global perspective. Through its comparative and ethnographic investigations, the database explores the existence of multiple moralities, which account for the resilience of informal practices, and explore their legitimacy and institutional arrangements as well as the cultural and historical contexts of informality. This online resource is truly international: it includes entries from 5 continents, over 60 countries and over 200 researchers. It aims to connect scholars of informality all over the world, and set up a platform for the crowdsourcing, cataloguing, and monitoring of informal practises across the globe. It is a comprehensive, easily accessible resource for not only the academic community, but also policy makers, businesses and travellers.

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

The database is supported by interns from the UCL’s Information Studies/ Centre for Digital Humanities keep the database updated on annual basis.

Editorial team

Editor-in-Chief: Prof Alena Ledeneva (

Project Coordinator: Petra Matijevic (


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

History of the project

Browsing through our archive of project newsletters offers a comprehensive view how the project has developed.