W057
Formal and informal economies in a global world

Convenors:
Antónia Pedroso de Lima (ISCTE-IUL / CRIA )
Manuela Cunha (Universidade do Minho, CRIA-UMinho)
Chair:
Antónia Pedroso de Lima and Manuela Ivone Cunha
Stream:
Workshops
Location:
Queens 1.18
Start time:
20 September, 2006 at 11:30
Session slots:
4

Short abstract:

Without reifying a distinction between formal and informal or dismissing its structuring effects, the workshop will discuss the importance of informal aspects of economic daily life in the actual activities of economic systems in different ethnographic contexts in our contemporary global world.

Long abstract:

The coexistence and practical hybridation of the formal and informal economy is not a new issue. The interconnections between these universes of action have been underlined by many scholars in several ethnographic contexts and historical moments. Although the notion of 'informal economy' is itself a highly criticised and imprecise concept, it signalises important aspects of the contemporary global world; it does not correspond to a given reality but translates in manifold ways into social life. Economic activities that go unnoticed and escape state regulation can constitute complex and sometimes powerful systems of meaning and action. They can combine within a multiplicity of forms which highlight the pervasiveness, as well as a particular ingrainment, of economic processes in daily social relations: domestic work, mutual aid, moonlighting, irregular markets of licit products, contraband and circulation of illicit goods, counterfeiting and corruption, and also aspects of legal business as family networks behind economic organisations. <br/>Neither reifying categorical distinctions between formal and informal, nor dismissing their structuring effects, we aim to discuss the relationship between native practices and perceptions of economy. Panelists are invited to assess the importance of the informal aspects of economic daily life in the existence and reproduction of the visible/formal economic system in different ethnographic contexts. Addressing economy as 'a multidimensional practical thing that people do' we can shed light on new or neglected aspects of already known realities. <br/>This workshop intends to combine studies dealing with diversified empirical realities that can contribute to an anthropology of coexisting economies in the contemporary global world.