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
Date Written: 2012
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: Suggested Citation