flows that remain largely unregulated by states or dominant social institutions.” A large number of migrants in South African cities turn to the informal economy for their survival and to build livelihoods. However, street trading markets in South
Making Life Liveable in an Informal Market
Infrastructures of Friendship amongst Migrant Street Traders in Durban, South Africa
Nomkhosi Mbatha and Leah Koskimaki
Interdisciplinary Fieldwork in Saidy, Republic of Sakha-Iakutiia, July-August 2014
This field report summarizes an international interdisciplinary research project in Saidy, Republic of Sakha, in the Russian Far East. The aim of the research was to study ecological adaptations of communities in northern Sakha, combining methods of anthropology, archaeology, and ecology. Most indigenous communities in this region demonstrate a high level of self-organization—for example, forbidding sales of alcohol and transforming drinking to a hidden activity. These communities are actively engaged in the informal economy where officially unemployed people run informal grocery stores, hunting, and transport enterprises. Local practices are a mixture of Evenki and Sakha culture with emphasis on individualism. People in these communities are not nostalgic about Sovietera collective farms—something that is unusual in Siberia—and see current life as better than that in the Soviet era.
Romanian Pimps Striving for Success in the Transnational Street Economy
Trine Mygind Korsby
relation to my informants, adding the complexity of being a migrant in the informal economy in a new place adds yet another layer of skills needed. Entering or creating a transnational street business abroad—defined as “business niches that emerge in
Can a financial bubble burst if no one hears the pop?
Transparency, debt, and the control of price in the Kathmandu land market
This article concerns the formation of price in Kathmandu’s land market. In Nepal, land has been for generations the bedrock of savings and household finance, an objectification of social status and a subject of intense political debate, up to and including the recent Maoist insurrection. In Kathmandu, however, the meaning of land has begun to change, mostly because of the rapid fluctuations in its monetary value. This article demonstrates how residents have used localized understandings of price and value formation to explain these changes, understandings that take as their reference point historical landlord-tenant relationships and not the machinations of market equilibrium. This article interrogates the notion that the market animates price, instead arguing that price can index a multitude of value formations.
Buy or barter?
Illegal yet licit purchases of work in contemporary Sweden
Lotta Björklund Larsen
This article explores the tensions between buying and bartering a ser vice in contemporary Sweden by analyzing the acceptable purchase of svart arbete -informal exchanges of work. It is a commonplace phenomenon, but also widely debated, as it is seen as detrimental to welfare society, eroding taxpaying morals and solidarity with fellow citizens. Settling the svart deal with money makes the links to market and state domains more pertinent. Even cash-settled deals are therefore often referred to as barters to create a reverse disentanglement, away from the formal market and moved closer to the realm of social exchanges. The informants express a verbal creativity in a joking manner. Exploring synonyms and metaphors reveals the informality, but the talk also shows that, as exchanges, they are part of everyday life. The article thus describes how illegal yet licit exchanges of work are articulated.
From Crime to Cultural Heritage
Cross-border Activities and Relationships in the Tornio River Valley
This article concentrates on one particular local cross-border activity carried on after the Second World War. This was a type of smuggling called joppaus in the local dialect, a practice which was enabled by the post-war economic recession and the scarcity of goods from which Finland suffered. This form of unauthorised economy is said to have been responsible for the rapid revival of the region and its inhabitants after the destruction inflicted by the war. The standard of living in the Tornio River Valley has been better than in the north of Finland in general, and this has been explained in part by this type of smuggling. Furthermore, in the last few decades joppaus has become part of the local cultural heritage.
Color-Coded Sovereignty and the Men in Black
Private Security in a Bolivian Marketplace
Daniel M. Goldstein
The appearance of effective security making—demonstrated through surveillance, visibility, and ongoing performance—is significant to contemporary sovereign authority in urban spaces characterized by quotidian violence and crime. This article examines La Cancha, Cochabamba, Bolivia’s enormous outdoor market, which is policed not by the state but by private security firms that operate as nonstate sovereign actors in the space of the market. The article provides an ethnographic account of one of these firms (the Men in Black), and documents the work of both municipal and national police—all of them distinguished by differently colored uniforms—in the management of crime, administration of justice, and establishment of public order in the market. Sovereignty here is derived through public performance, both violent and nonviolent, through which the Men in Black demonstrate and maintain their sovereign power.
Informality, Sociality, and the Greek Crisis
During times of crisis, economic practices organized on principles of reciprocity often arise. Greece, with the vibrant sociality pertaining to its 'solidarity economy', is a case in point. This article is premised on the idea that crises make contradictions in societies more visible. I suggest that a central contradiction is at play in Greece between informal and formalized economic activity, as demonstrated in the tension between the fluid features of 'solidarity' networks and the formalization proposed or imposed on them by state institutions. In Thessaloniki, the informal solidarity economy proves to be more efficient than the work of NGOs. Arguing that such economic activities are built around the rise of new forms of sociality rather than a tendency toward bureaucratization, the article contributes to anthropological understandings of solidarity and welfare, as well as their relation.
The “Transnational Business of Death” Among Somali Migrants in the Streets of Athens
the journey end right there for Riyaan's sister Yusra, and for thousands upon thousands more. The topic of this article is how Riyaan engaged in an informal economy in order to retrieve her sister's body, as she was a part of the large number of
Theorizing peripheral labor
Rethinking “surplus populations”
Tom Cowan, Stephen Campbell, and Don Kalb
rural dispossession without a commensurate increase in formal employment, thereby rendering growing populations surplus to the needs of capital accumulation. The informal economy, in the postcolonial urban slum in particular, is thus, in Sanyal