Emerging economic futures: the intersections of informality and formality [Anthropology of Economy Network] 
Alan Smart (University of Calgary)
Filippo Zerilli
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Start time:
22 July, 2016 at 9:00 (UTC+0)
Session slots:

Short Abstract:

Informality/formality are a duality necessarily bound up with each other. We look at diverse forms of intersections between them.

Long Abstract

The dualism of the informal/formal sector distinction has recently been replaced with a recognition that informality/formality are a duality necessarily bound up with each other. This recognition is one of the key legacies of Keith Hart's original work, which was subsequently neglected as the ideas were made workable for economic management. Bringing informal and formal together is increasingly common in both academic analysis and development policy, the latter particularly as policies encouraging the formalization of informality. This panel will broaden the terms of this engagement, by including papers that look at a range of different kinds of intersection between the formal and the informal. Governmental formalization is only one way in which informality can be formalized; corporations can also formalize informal sector operators, by bringing them into their corporate governance as subcontractors or salespeople; within supra-national institutions formality and informality are negotiated and enforced in the form of non-legally binding (soft law) tools such as treaties and conventions; NGOs,grassroots movements and civic associations often struggle to see their practices formalized and legally recognized. This panel will examine a range of the various ways in which formality and informality intersect and interact: subordination, toleration, regularization, eradication, exploitation and subversion, to mention only a few of the possible scenarios and processes. The trajectories taken by these intersections of formality and informality will have a great influence on the economic futures that emerge in a less Euro-centric global economy.

Accepted papers: