Academics contribute to Global Informality Project

Researchers from our School of History, Politics and International Relations have contributed to the Global Informality Project, led by Professor Alena V. Ledeneva, – an online resource designed to explore informal practices and structures from a global perspective and to shed light on the world’s open secrets, unwritten rules and hidden practices.

Through its comparative and ethnographic investigations, the encyclopaedia explores the existence of multiple moralities, which account for the resilience of informal practices, and explore their legitimacy and institutional arrangements as well as the cultural and historical contexts of informality.

Simona has contributed with ‘Barone’, which has come to indicate people who abuse their authority within their profession to exercise undue power, examining the case of Italy in comparative perspective, and ‘Bustarella’, which may be translated literally as ‘little envelope’ and could equate with a kickback or bribe.

Hemn has contributed with ‘Tazkia’, an Arabic word which could refer to a person who won an election without having any competitors, or to someone being confirmed as a successful candidate for a party position without any other contenders being considered.

The project has delivered an online resource, overseen by UCL's Information Studies/Centre for Digital Humanities to unite scholars of informality all over the world, and provides a platform for the submission and curation of informal practices across the globe. It is a comprehensible, easily accessible resource targeting not only the academic community, but also policy makers, businesses and the public.

The encyclopedia is based on authored entries of approximately 1,000-1,500 words. The resource is soon available in print in a more complete version, published by UCL Press.