The informal economy includes all those forms of economic and social relationships which escape state regulation. The book explores how people make choices and practice informality according to the available opportunities. Using empirical work, authors from across Europe look at different illegal or informal activities. They include legal and illegal markets, such as the selling of counterfeited goods and drugs, fruit picking, infrastructure construction, illegal wildlife and the illegal tropical timber trade, work in the hotel and catering sector, prostitution, stripping and street vending. The book aims to create a nuanced and empirically based approach in which the authors undertake critical analyses on the several ways informality operates within different societies and countries. It includes both economic analyses and detailed considerations of the social circumstances in different cities and countries. It shows how formal and informal work, legal and illegal trading (more often than not) overlap and are indistinguishable. The authors explore what the benefits (and disadvantages) are for workers in the informal economy - do they prosper, or is this survival work?
In rapidly changing economic times the emphasis on topical empirical foundations is important and poses new challenges to workers
Pietro Saitta is Senior Lecturer in Sociology at the University of Messina (Italy). Joanna Shapland is Professor of Criminal Justice at the University of Sheffield, UK. She was formerly at the Centre for Criminology at the University of Oxford and King's College London. Antoinette Verhage is a postdoctoral researcher at Ghent University (Belgium) and director of the research group Institute for Urban Security & Policing Studies (SVA).
Just a Matter of Order? An Introduction to the Topic of Informal Economy; 1 The Informal Economy and the Present Economic Crisis in Europe: Is There an Influence?; 2 Re-Hybridizing the Legal and the Criminal in all Activities at the Local, National and Global Levels: A 'Political Total Fact' in the 21st Century Neo-Liberal Frame; 3 A Theoretical Model for the Underground Economy; 4 Illegal Markets in a Collapsing Economy; 5 Getting by in a Post-Fordian Age: Survival Strategies and Temporary Workers in the Sicilian Public Sector; 6 Organized Crime, the Illegal Economy and 'Legal' Agents: Usury in Messina; 7 The Role of Organized Crime in Infrastructure Development: The Case of the Messina Bridge; 8 The Illegal Wildlife Trade and Transnational Organized Crime; 9 Governance throughout the Flows: Case Study Research on the Illegal Tropical Timber Trade; 10 The Belgian Informal Economy: A Case Study of Seasonal Work in Fruit-Growing in South Limburg; 11 Informal Economy in Belgium's Hotel and Catering Sector: Survival Strategy and Crime Risk; 12 Dancing around Drugs: Policing the Illegal Drug Markets of the Night-Time Economy in England and Wales; 13 Immigrant Vendors in Italy: Discursive Practices and Power Relationships; 14 Prostitution in Times of Economic Crisis: Effects, Human Agency and Societal Responses; 15 The Advantages and Attractions of Informality: Stripping Work amongst Migrants and Students in the UK; 16 The Informal Economy and its Dilemmas in Latin America: The Case of Street Vendors in Porto Alegre, Brazil; 17 'Catch me if you Can': Ambiguities and Complexities of Street Children (bashege) of Kinshasa; 18 Getting by or Getting Rich, or Simply Looking for a Better Life? The Informal Economy in Times of Economic Crisis