Accepted Paper:

Networks and informality in a formal world: financial elites in global economies  
Antónia Pedroso de Lima (ISCTE-IUL CRIA)

Paper short abstract:

This paper argues that the economic dividends produced by the Portuguese financial elite cannot be understood only through an economic perspective because they are also constituted through personal social affective ties in which informality and amity become as important as professional competence.

Paper long abstract:

In this paper I will argue that most of the economic dividends produced by Portuguese financial elite families are a result of multiple forms of relations and cannot be understood only through an economic perspective. Based on fieldwork among financial elite families in Portugal this paper will address the challenge of thinking "global top economy" through personal networks at a world scale. Ethnographic data showed that formal business in our global modern capitalist world, are also constituted through personal social affective ties in which informality and amity become as important as professional competence. Although prevailing models of capitalist society represent economics as the basis of its social system and kinship and personal relations as a destabilizing force that undermines it. I argue, in contrast, that a significant part of Portugal's modern economy - and its presence in world economy - is mobilized by catholic familial values and ideas that operate as a force for capitalist development. Furthermore, a significant part of the international business relations they are engaged in are also mobilized through informal ties that bind elite families around the world.

Panel W057
Formal and informal economies in a global world