Browsing by Subject "informality"

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  • Adams, Laura L; Svensson, Mans; Urinboyev, Rustam (Lexington Books, 2018)
    Contemporary Central Asia: Societies, Politics, and Cultures
    The issue of governance has become a fashionable topic of research in the study of post-Soviet societies. The key argument of this article is that there are multiple paradigms and understandings of ‘good governance’, some of which concur with the global (Western) understanding, while others offer alternative criteria. In this article, we explore the specifics of governance system in Uzbekistan and suggest the notion of ‘everyday life governance’ as shorthand for providing contextual understanding of good governance. This local Uzbek governance system consists of two important interrelated components: a government that heavily relies on coercive infrastructure for maintaining political stability and interethnic peace, but at the same time induces its citizens to engage in informal practices and networks as an alternative (to the formal) source of welfare. This article explores how this system emerged in the post-Soviet period and its impact on societal transformation, governance and development processes in Uzbekistan. These issues will be investigated with reference to observations and informal interviews from post-Soviet Uzbekistan. This study is based on three periods of ethnographic field research between 2009 and 2012 in the Ferghana Province of Uzbekistan.
  • Urinboyev, Rustam; Eraliev, Sherzod (2022)
    Despite the extensive literature on the nexus between civil society and democratization in non-democratic regimes, most existing scholarship focuses on politically oriented and claim-making civil society organizations. While these accounts provide useful insights, they appear to rely on Western-centric understandings of civil society. Undoubtedly, little space exists in non-democratic regimes within which civil society organizations may engage in overt political activism due to governmental restrictions. Notwithstanding these restrictions, there are politically less threatening social arenas, where it is possible to identify informally organized civil society initiatives with the potential to redefine and influence long-term state–society relations. This article argues that what we might think of as civil society initiatives in non-democratic regimes cannot be satisfactorily understood through the lens of Western-centric understandings of civil society. Instead, we should focus on informal civil society initiatives. These processes will be illustrated through the case study of mahalla institutions in Uzbekistan.
  • Polese, Abel; Fradejas-Garcia, Ignacio; Banovic, Ruzica Simic; Skokic, Vlatka; Kerikmae, Tanel; Luis Molina, Jose; Alpeza, Mirela; Lubbers, Miranda J.; Camerani, Alberica (2022)
    Post-Weberian definitions see the state???individual relationship as a ???do ut des??? one. The state grants protection, education, medical care, and its citizens contribute labour, compliance, and taxes. When this does not occur, it is generally accepted that the citizens are deviating from state goals. However, there are cases where lack of compliance stems from the fact that society members do not feel protected by formal structures, and they rely on informal ones to replace, supplement, or even compete with state institutions. The starting point of this article is that this lack of support may result from enhanced labour mobility (and migration) across Europe, and may enhance the creation and persistence of informal practices. Taking advantage of two case studies, Romanian migrants to Spain and ethnic entrepreneurs in Croatia, we observe how governance is constructed and provide two novel interpretative frameworks. First, we explore the use of informality (informal practices) to suggest that apparently insignificant actions that are repeated routinely and without much thought, are a way to contribute to the construction of the political and that everyday governance should receive more attention. Second, we use this claim to argue that a better understanding of informality can help identify governance areas where interventions are more urgent. These are the spheres of public life where it is possible to identify a larger gap between the wishes of a state and the ways citizens actually act as they informally avoid or bypass its rules.
  • Evers, Niklas (Helsingin yliopisto, 2019)
    The thesis examines how the national water policies of Tanzania and Kenya address informality in the urban water sector by critically analysing the representations of “problems” in policies related to increasing urban water access. While access to safely managed water has increased rapidly on a global in the last decades, in most cities in the global south 30¬–60 per cent of the urban population relies on informal practices to meet its daily water needs. Especially the urban areas of sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) struggle to increase access to safe water to citizens, resulting in a high reliance on informal practices, such as getting water from unprotected wells or buying water from street vendors. While these practices are generally associated with health risks and higher water prices, they serve as the main everyday water supply for millions of people. Since the state has failed to provide access to water for everyone, both under private and public management, informally managed water systems are, despite their problems, increasingly seen as a viable alternative to the standard solution of expanding the piped network to increase access. Many of the case studies on informality in SSA cited in this thesis argue that the state should accept and support the informal water sector as a pragmatic alternative for water supply in unserved urban areas. By analysing the national water policies of Tanzania and Kenya, this thesis sets out to answer the research questions of (1) how the problem of water supply is constructed in urban water policy in Tanzania and Kenya and (2) how Tanzanian and Kenyan water policies approach the informal water sector. The analysis applies Carol Bacchi’s (2009) poststructuralist approach to analysing policy, the ‘What’s The Problem Represented To Be?’ (WPR) approach. Four general representations of problems related to urban water access and informality were identified in the data: (1) The problem of lacking infrastructure, (2) the problem of identifying appropriate technologies, (3) the problem of stakeholder involvement and (4) the problem of informality in the water sector. The results show a high reliance on investment in large-scale infrastructure projects as the main policy for increasing access to water in urban areas in both Kenya and Tanzania, even though previous studies on informality and urban water provision suggests this tactic will fail in providing safe water for all. In addressing the informal water sector in urban areas, informality was represented as a problem that eventually will fade away as soon as the piped network reaches all. However, both countries appeared to take a completely different stance towards informality in rural areas. Whereas large-scale infrastructure projects still were the go-to solution for increasing access in urban areas, for rural areas the analysed documents proposed a massive support of community-based informal practices as the cornerstones of future rural water supply, covering tens of millions of people in the coming decade. If the attempt to solve lacking access to safe water in urban areas by expanding the piped network should fail, as previous research suggests it might, the community based policies for rural water supply may be scaled out to solve the urban water problem. This thesis shows that the informal water sector is still to a large extent seen as a temporary problem. However, both Kenyan and Tanzanian water policy has opened the door to supporting informal practices as sustainable solutions as a way to achieve the ambitious goal of safe water for all.