Structures, Political Cultures and Social Practices
Introduction: Exploring Informality in Eastern Europe through Different Disciplines
The idea for this book goes back to a discussion between anthropologists and political scientists on the meanings of informality and on the question about how to link diverging conceptions of informal practices and structures, particularly in the context of the ongoing political, economic and social changes in Eastern Europe. The objectives of this book are twofold.
First, and with regard to the main distinction of this book between informality and formality, it aims to discover whether or to what extent informal structures and practices in Eastern Europe have meanings, functions, forms and effects different from those that can be observed in the politics and societies of Western Europe. The authors of this volume – the majority among them are from the region – working with the conceptual distinction between informality and formality, have been invited to discuss these questions. A particular focus is given to the question of the extent to which informal institutions and practices can be considered as a transitional phenomenon, to be observed in certain fields, areas and periods, or whether we are confronted here with a rather more structural or persistent phenomenon. As all three important regions in Eastern Europe are covered by the contributions we may expect to see that patterns of informal structures and practices are following more-or-less the direction of the transformations in the political systems, the regional economies and societies.
Second, this volume is an attempt to bring together scholars from different disciplines under the “umbrella” distinction...
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