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Informal Economies in an Age of Environmental Crisis 
Graeme Young (University of Glasgow)
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Politics and political economy
Palmer 1.02
Friday 30 June, -, -
Time zone: Europe/London

Short Abstract:

This panel will explore the relationship between informal economic activities and contemporary environmental crises, focusing on the challenges and potential opportunities that characterize this relationship in the Global South.

Long Abstract:

Contemporary climate crises occur in a context in which most of the world’s employment is informal (ILO 2018). This reality and its implications, however, are perhaps underappreciated, particularly given the significant challenges it presents to designing and implementing effective environmental policy and crisis response. This panel therefore invites papers that explore the intersection between informal economies and various contemporary environmental crises, encouraging presenters to engage with themes including:

1. How informal economies can be a source of resilience in periods of environmental crisis, providing goods, services and/or employment in the absence of accessible and/or affordable formal markets and social safety nets.

2. How informal economies can be a source of vulnerability in crisis due to problems surrounding precarious livelihoods, limited rights and state repression.

3. How informal economies have been or can be effectively integrated into climate resilience and/or green transition plans.

4. How particular informal economic activities (e.g. transportation, food retail and waste picking) can contribute to more sustainable futures and the role(s) that states, cities, communities and/or workplaces can play in promoting these.

5. How environmental discourses may be employed to justify the repression of informal economic activities and/or further limit the rights of informal workers.

6. How responding to environmental crises and the problems associated with informal work can be reconciled in the context of global governance.

7. The extent to which it is possible for a green transition to simultaneously address problems related to decent work and low levels of formal employment in the Global South.

Accepted papers:

Session 1 Friday 30 June, 2023, -
Session 2 Friday 30 June, 2023, -