Based on extensive ethnographic and quantitative research, conducted in Ukraine and Russia between 2004 and 2012, this book’s central argument is that for many people the informal economy, such as cash in hand work, subsistence production and the use of social networks, is of great importance to everyday life. Formal work is both a facilitator of such processes and is often supported by them, as people can only afford to undertake low paid formal work as a result of their informal incomes. By looking at the informal nature of formal work and practices, informal practices, gift giving, volunteer work and the economies of the household the book is one of the first to give an overview of the nature of the informal economy in all spheres of everyday practice.
"The authors challenge the very notion of market transition as that of moving from command and control plan-based economy to a market one. Instead, they offer a true mosaic of post-Soviet transformation, a largely incomplete and frequently confusing multifaceted non-linear process…I strongly encourage everyone interested in post- Soviet transformations to read this book. A landmark work on informal economies, it offers a totally new perspective on economies in transition. Moreover, it serves as a methodological sample work for similar possible future studies of socio-economic transformations in different parts of the world. This brilliant work that proves that the adjective ‘ethnographic’ is directly related to another adjective ‘economic’, may be regarded as nothing less than an alternative and insightful interpretation of post-Soviet transformation." - Ararat L. Osipian, Vanderbilt University
1. Introduction: Part I (Re)theorising Transition Economies 2. Re-visiting the recurring question of transition 3. Re-theorising the economic 4. Beyond the formal/informal economy dualism: unpacking the diverse economies of post-Soviet societies Part II The Lived Experience of Transition 5. The role of the informal in the formal sphere 6. Informal employment 7. One-to-one unpaid labour, reimbursed family work and paid favours 8. Formal and informal unpaid employment 9. The internal economies of the household 10. Conclusions