“The Art of the Informal”: An Anthropological Travelling Concept Cover Image

„Sztuka nieformalnego”. Antropologiczne pojęcie wędrujące
“The Art of the Informal”: An Anthropological Travelling Concept

Author(s): Tomasz Rakowski
Subject(s): Anthropology, Social Sciences, Sociology
Published by: Wydział Socjologii Uniwersytetu Warszawskiego
Keywords: the art of the informal;informal economy;self-organisation;economy of favour;Torghuts;Mongolia;

Summary/Abstract: In this article, I show how an anthropological understanding of informality and also spontaneous forms of social collaboration or self-organisation may change and develop when related to the concrete site and particular context of research. I am concerned with how the informal sector is recognised by researchers and as a kind of failure or as something defective which holds back modernisation and development programmes. I introduce the notion of “the art of the informal”, which encompasses and underlines some positive aspects of informal collaboration and a certain independent self-organisation. I analyse “the art of the informal” in the contexts of post-socialist Poland, Central-Eastern Europe, the former Soviet bloc, and especially contemporary Mongolia. I try to show that the informal ties existing in local traditions may signify grassroots forms of collaboration and an impulse for self-organisation. At the same time, I show how shifting from the context of postsocialist Europe to the context of contemporary Mongolia requires creating constantly new notions in order to name the informal processes vis-à-vis local cosmologies and imaginaries.

  • Issue Year: 2016
  • Issue No: 10
  • Page Range: 190-219
  • Page Count: 30
  • Language: Polish