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Jeremy Morris

The Informal Economy and Post-Socialism: Imbricated Perspectives on Labor, the State, and Social Embeddedness

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Abstract: This article argues for moving beyond
existing conceptualizations of the “informal economy”
that construe informality as a distinct phenomenon with
more or less clearly defined borders. Instead, it proposes
an “imbricated” perspective where informality and
informal economic practices closely relate to other forms
of informal organization within networks and political
and civic structures. Specifically, the article addresses the
issue of how to conceptualize and justify such broader
understanding of informality. To do so, it develops
three interrelated meanings of “imbrication”—relating
to labor and economic activities; the “deregulation”
or fuzziness of state practices and bureaucratic rulemaking;
and the complexity of economic and social
reasonings by agents themselves—to explain action. In
each case, I offer brief empirical examples from my field
research in provincial Russia.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9-30
Number of pages22
Publication statusPublished - 2019

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