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Sociologies of Formality and Informality

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Edited By Adriana Mica, Jan Winczorek and Rafał Wiśniewski

The way sociology frames the relation between formality and informality is not only complex and multifaceted, but has also evolved over time. This volume offers contributions by international authors that illustrate distinct types of theoretical framings and present various sites of inquiry. It proposes a typology comprising: the sociology of informally embedded formality, the sociology of formally embedded informality, the sociology of the interaction between formality and informality and the sociology of the emergence and transformation of formality and informality.
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Rule of Law and Informal Institutions

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Introduction

Over the course of the widespread third wave of democratization, a key observation has been made frequently: The introduction of elections alone does not guarantee a functioning democracy. The main indicators used in this determination are weak rule of law and a lack of checks and balances due to an unsatisfactory level of institutionalized, horizontal accountability (O’Donnell 1998; Schedler, Dia­mond and Plattner 1999). Additional criteria, which are present in modern, Western constitutional states, must be met. Unsurprisingly, O’Donnell (1999; 2004) explicitly urges that the existing foundations of democracy in the West and the implicit requirements of democracy should be identified and analyzed. He considers the concepts of Rechtsstaat, rule of law, and the constitutional state (or constitutionalism) to be essential to the analysis. For this reason, the fundamental constitutional order, rather than system of government, is addressed. This applies to the legal form or the judicial system, the basis for governance, in which state activity manifests itself. The analysis of systems of law is relevant not only to democracies, but also to authoritarian regimes, because it sheds light on their dynamics and stability. Investigating both kinds of regimes leads us to the following questions: Do legal systems always have characteristics of the rule of law, or in some regimes, do they possess only an instrumental nature (“rule by law”)?

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