The informality of inventiveness: knowledge, innovation and the sustainability of the informal economy

Nicholas Phelps (UCL)
Colin Marx (UCL)
Michael Walls (UCL)
J19 (Richmond building)
Start time:
6 September, 2017 at 14:00
Session slots:

Short abstract:

This panel will explore the knowledge mobilised by informal enterprises, their inventiveness and the relationship of these to business, institutional/community and environmental sustainability.

Long abstract:

Development studies literature has strongly implied the inventiveness of urban informal enterprises and the relationships of these innovations to productivity have been part of the debates since Keith Hart's seminal work in Ghana in the early 1970s. For the most part however, the innovation of informal enterprises is considered from perspectives of innovation or understandings of informal economies that appear to obscure the very ways in which they are 'innovative'. Paper contributions to this panel will seek to fill this conceptual and empirical gap when also interrogating how the knowledge mobilised by, and inventiveness of, informal enterprises relates to questions of the wider sustainability of the enterprises themselves, the social and community institutions to which they relate, and the natural and built environments in which they are embedded.