Getting By or Getting Rich?

The Formal, Informal and Criminal Economy in a Globalised World

Pietro Saitta, Joanna Shapland en Antoinette Verhage (redactie) 9789462360563 | 1e druk, 2013


Just a Matter of Order? An Introduction to the Topic of Informal Economy
1The Informal Economy and the Present Economic Crisis in Europe: Is There an Influence?
2Re-Hybridizing the Legal and the Criminal in All Activities at the Local, National and Global Levels: A ‘Political Total Fact’ in the 21st Century Neo-Liberal Frame
3A Theoretical Model for the Underground Economy
4Illegal Markets in a Collapsing Economy
5Getting By in a Post-Fordian Age: Survival Strategies and Temporary Workers in the Sicilian Public Sector
6Organized Crime, the Illegal Economy and ‘Legal’ Agents: Usury in Messina
7The Role of Organized Crime in Infrastructure Development: The Case of the Messina Bridge
8The Illegal Wildlife Trade and Transnational Organized Crime
9Governance Throughout the Flows: Case Study Research on the Illegal Tropical Timber Trade
10The Belgian Informal Economy: A Case Study of Seasonal Work in Fruit-Growing in South Limburg
11Informal Economy in Belgium’s Hotel and Catering Sector: Survival Strategy and Crime Risk
12Dancing Around Drugs: Policing the Illegal Drug Markets of the Night-Time Economy in England and Wales
13Immigrant Vendors in Italy: Discursive Practices and Power Relationships
14Prostitution in Times of Economic Crisis: Effects, Human Agency and Societal Responses
15The Advantages and Attractions of Informality: Stripping Work Amongst Migrants and Students in the UK
16The Informal Economy and Its Dilemmas in Latin America: The Case of Street Vendors in Porto Alegre, Brazil
17‘Catch Me If You Can’: Ambiguities and Complexities of Street Children (Bashege) of Kinshasa This study was originally published as Hendriks, M., Ponsaers, P. & Mulamba Tshondo, J. (2011). Catch me if you can – Ambiguities and complexities of street children [bashege] of Kinshasa. In M. Cools, B. de Ruyver,-
18Getting By or Getting Rich, or Simply Looking for a Better Life? The Informal Economy in Times of Economic Crisis
About the Authors


The informal economy includes all those forms of economic and social relationships which escape state regulation. The book explores how people make choices and practice informality according to the available opportunities. Using empirical work, authors from across Europe look at different illegal or informal activities. They include legal and illegal markets, such as the selling of counterfeited goods and drugs, fruit picking, infrastructure construction, illegal wildlife and the illegal tropical timber trade, work in the hotel and catering sector, prostitution, stripping and street vending.

The book aims to create a nuanced and empirically based approach, in which the authors undertake critical analyses on the several ways informality operates within different societies and countries. It includes both economic analyses and detailed consideration of the social circumstances in different cities and countries. It shows how formal and informal work, legal and illegal trading, more often than not, overlap and are undistinguishable. It explores what the benefits (and disadvantages) are for workers in the informal economy – do they prosper, or is this survival work? This emphasis on topical empirical foundations matters in rapidly changing economic times, with new challenges for workers. In fact, it is in moments like these that the old certainties of those who are likely to choose what path to follow, become less clear. It is also then that the dividing lines between formal, informal and criminal start to become less visible in organisations and companies. Does a time of economic turmoil make it easier to slip from one to the other? Does the economic crisis ‘force’ people to make other choices than before? And what is the impact on individuals, organisations and regulators?

Topics covered in this book are informal economy, choice of work, economic crisis, income portfolio, empirical research, European outlook, phenomena: street vending, prostitution, stripping, fruit picking, hotel, restaurant and catering sector, social fraud, illegal wildlife, illegal tropical timber trade.




Pietro Saitta is Senior Lecturer in Sociology at the University of Messina (Italy).

Joanna Shapland is Professor of Criminal Justice at the University of Sheffield, UK. She was formerly at the Centre for Criminology at the University of Oxford and King’s College London.

Antoinette Verhage is a postdoctoral researcher at Ghent University (Belgium) and director of the research group Institute for Urban Security & Policing Studies (SVA).


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