Work Beyond Employment: Representations of Informal Economic Activities

Work, Employment and Society, Vol. 26, 2012, No. 2, pp. 1-10.

11 Pages Posted: 21 Dec 2015

See all articles by Colin Williams

Colin Williams

University of Sheffield - School of Management

Sara Nadin

University of Liverpool

Date Written: 2012

Abstract

For much of the previous century, the informal sector was largely represented as a residue of a previous mode of production confined to marginal populations and gradually disappearing due to the inevitable and natural shift towards the formal economy across the globe. Over the past quarter of a century, however, articles published in Work, Employment and Society have been at the forefront of re-reading the informal sector. This article reveals how this body of literature has shown informal economic activities to be a persistent and ubiquitous feature of the economic landscape, mapped the complex and variable dynamics of formal and informal work in different populations, transcended simplistic universal structure/agency explanations for the persistence of informal work by developing context-bound understandings, and challenged the formal/informal dichotomy which represents the formal and informal sectors as separate hostile worlds. The article concludes by highlighting some possible future directions for research on this topic.

Keywords: dual economy, gender, housework, informal economy, informal employment, underground economy, uneven development, unpaid work, voluntary sector, work organization

JEL Classification: H26, J46, K42, O17

Suggested Citation

Williams, Colin and Nadin, Sara, Work Beyond Employment: Representations of Informal Economic Activities (2012). Work, Employment and Society, Vol. 26, 2012, No. 2, pp. 1-10., Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2706195

Colin Williams (Contact Author)

University of Sheffield - School of Management ( email )

15 Conduit Road
Sheffield, S10 1FL
United Kingdom

HOME PAGE: http://https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/management/staff/williams/index

Sara Nadin

University of Liverpool ( email )

Chatham Street
Liverpool, L69 7ZH
United Kingdom

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