Click the star to add/remove an item to/from your individual schedule.
You need to be logged in to avail of this functionality, and to see the links to virtual rooms.


Illegitimacy and informality in the digital economy [Anthropology of Economy Network (AoE)] 
Margie Cheesman (King's College London)
Andreas Hackl (University of Edinburgh)
Send message to Convenors
Lana Swartz (University of Virginia)
Wednesday 24 July, -, -
Time zone: Europe/Madrid
Add to Calendar:

Short Abstract:

This panel has been preselected by the AnthEcon network. It explores the role of the informal in contemporary digital economies, building on a rich history in anthropological research that uncovers the "subversive" and "illegitimate" ways in which people maintain their livelihoods.

Long Abstract:

Anthropological research has long been attuned to the subversive ways in which people maintain their livelihoods, and has thereby contested binary divisions between the formal and informal in economies and labour markets. These binaries are upheld by state-centric perspectives on legitimate economic activity; challenging them means questioning norms and stereotypes around legality, criminalisation, and authority. Digitalisation has beckoned many new ways of generating income, accessing work, and getting paid, for example through platform work, e-commerce, mobile money, cryptocurrency exchanges, or social media platforms. Here, new informal and illegitimate activities have flourished. New forms of digital brokerage and informal intermediation, online scams, and fraudulent digital identities are especially prevalent among low income, migrant, and non-citizen groups who are excluded from bank accounts, SIMs, and other foundations of digital economic activity (Chonka 2023; Cheesman & Hackl 2023; Swartz 2023).

Building on these emerging conversations, this panel seeks to generate critical discussion around the role of the illegitimate and informal in contemporary digital economies, including digital labour markets, finance, aid and welfare, cybercrime, and more. We are interested in both the empowering and disempowering dimensions of the illegitimate and informal. Papers may include discussions of subject formation in digital economies, everyday negotiations or regimes of suspicion and authenticity. We invite papers based on research not only with vulnerable, exploited populations, but also elite actors, such as those involved in shadow banking or regulatory arbitrage. The panel encourages methodological reflections about the challenges of doing anthropological research in this ambivalent and sensitive field.

Accepted papers:

Session 1 Wednesday 24 July, 2024, -
Session 2 Wednesday 24 July, 2024, -