Open Call for Volume 3 of the Global Encyclopaedia of Informality

Posted on April 25, 2019 by UCL Press

Professor Alena V. Ledeneva and the Global Informality Project International Board invite you to submit entries for the Global Encyclopaedia of Informality, Volume 3.

The Global Informality Project (GIP) is an interdisciplinary research project led by the FRINGE Centre with support of the UCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies. It is the first multimedia online resource that explores the social and cultural complexity of informal practices and structures from a global perspective, set up in 2014. Through its comparative and ethnographic investigations, the project explores multiple moralities, the resilience of informal practices, their legitimacy and institutional causes as well as the cultural and historical contexts of informality. Over the years, this unique collection of practices has grown into a comprehensible, easily accessible resource for audiences in academia, policy-making, businesses and the public.

Most materials are available in the printed version, The Global Encyclopaedia of Informality, Volumes 1 and 2, published by the UCL Press in the open access FRINGE series in 2018. The Encyclopaedia is structured to represent informal practices in all forms of human interaction: re-distribution, solidarity, market exchange and domination, and to highlight the correspondent types of ambivalence: substantive, normative, functional and motivational ambivalence (more information is available here). Since the publication of the first two volumes, the collection continues to grow and will now develop into the third volume of the Encyclopaedia. While a focus on open secrets and unwritten rules will remain an aim of the Encyclopaedia, Volume 3 will catalogue informal practices that question our ability to categorise clearly, associated with tensions around gender, age, ethnicity and religion; food and forms of personal care; as well as diaspora-based and other transnational practices.

To explore further patterns of ambivalence, we particularly, but not exclusively, welcome contributions from the following fields: social psychology (in particular practices capturing the emotional ambivalence), gender studies (practices of sexual/gender ambivalence), religious studies (practices that embody religious/ethnic ambivalence), and possibly, the occult (magical practices). We will be interested in the colloquial names of such practices and the contexts in which they are recognised, articulated and performed.

Please contact us at with an expression of interest by 1 June 2019. Your preliminary submission should include:

name of the practice,
location of the practice,
short description of the practice (not exceeding 100 words) and
email subject containing the phrase: "Expression of interest, volume 3, <name of the practice>".

These will help us respond to you sooner. The project runs on a self-nominated system of deadlines, so we will discuss deadline for the final submission once we are in contact.

Please also let us know if you are interested in contributing an unrelated practice, as we continue to publish these online.

Become an author

The Encyclopaedia is based on authored entries of approximately 1,000-1,500 words including bibliography. We are looking for contributors who have done primary, if not pioneering research of aspects of informality.

Guidelines for Entries

Each entry should focus on a single practice (preferably named in colloquial way) and analyse at least some of the following aspects:

  • Local name of the informal practice;
  • Definition, etymology and its translation into other languages;
  • How widely is it used?;
  • In which countries/regions/sectors is it spread?;
  • Identify analogous practices, named differently in different countries (if possible);
  • How does it relate to other informal practices (discuss similarities and differences if possible);
  • What are the implications of the chosen practice for politics/economy/ society?;
  • Which method was or can be used for researching this practice?;
  • Give examples of the practice;
  • How can the practice be measured?
  • Please cross-reference and recommend readings.


Entries should be aimed at a non-specialist audience, including non-academics. Entries should be written in British English in encyclopaedic style. Please use simple and straightforward language and avoid the use of the first person pronoun.

Entry header

  • Please list the name and location of the practice, author’s name and institution at the top of the document, in the exact format you wish it to appear, e.g.:
Alena V. Ledeneva
School of Slavonic and East European Studies, University College London
  • Please include with your submission an email address where you will be most easily contacted throughout the duration of the project.
  • Include between 5 and 10 keywords that best describe the practice.
  • Include a short, one-sentence definition of the practice.


  • If applicable, please attach up to two images illustrating the practice. We prefer images that are your own work or not subject to copyright.
  • Please attach photographs or other media as a separate file and do not insert them in the text document.
  • Provide captions for all the pictures as well as the source of the material (author, website address, literature citation) and the name of the copyright holder (e.g. 'Exchanging favours in Russia. Source: Photo by author. © Alena Ledeneva.').


  • Use single inverted commas and quotation marks, do not use double quotes, e.g. ‘informal’, NOT “informal”.
  • Write percentages out in full, e.g. 6 per cent, NOT 6% or 6 percent.
  • Write centuries out in full, e.g. nineteenth century NOT 19th century. Decades can be written numerically, e.g. ‘during the 1920s’.
  • Non-English words, including the name of the practice, should appear in italics.
  • Do not use headings or footnotes.

Referencing format

  • In-text referencing should appear in parentheses, in the form (Surname Year: page number), e.g. (Smith 2014: 31-5). Please do not put a comma between the author and the year.
  • The list of references should only contain items included in the text.


Rupp, K. 2004. Gift Giving in Japan: Cash, Connections, Cosmologies. Stanford: Stanford University Press
Blundo, G. and Le Meur, P. Y. (eds.) 2009. The Governance of Daily Life in Africa: Ethnographic Explorations of Public and Collective Services. Leiden: Brill Academic Publishers
Padgett, J., Bonacich, P., Skvoretz, J. and Scott, J. 2000. Social Network Analysis. London: Sage

Chapters from edited collections

Bourdieu, P. 1986. ‘The forms of capital’, in J. G. Richardson (ed.), Handbook of Theory and

Research for the Sociology of Education. New York: Greenwood Press: 241-58

Journal Articles

Lebra, T. S. 1975. ‘An Alternative Approach to Reciprocity’, American Anthropologist, 77: 550-6

News articles

Kuzmin, V. 2011. ‘By October 1, government officials will leave the boards of state-run companies’, Rossiyskaya Gazeta, 4 April: 3
Novaya gazeta. 2010. ‘A bil li uchreditel’?’, No. 74, 12 July: 6
RIA Novosti. 2010. ‘Nothing can make nation drink less, say quarter of Russians’, 17 March

Internet-based sources

Petrov, T. 2012. ‘The secret of the wine cellar’,, 4 May, 2011. ‘Vladimir Putin speaks out against sharp rise in prices on alcohol in Russia’, 1 April,
UNDP. 2004. Practice Code: Anti-corruption,

Multiple works from the same author and year

Please differentiate by adding a letter after the year of publication, starting with “a”. For example:

Ballard, R. 2005a. ‘Coalitions of reciprocity and the maintenance of financial integrity within informal value transmission systems: The operational dynamics of contemporary hawala networks’, Journal of Banking Regulation, 6 (4): 319–352
Ballard, R. 2005b. ‘Remittances and economic development in India and Pakistan’, in S.

Maimbo and D. Ratha (eds.), Remittances: Development Impact and Future Prospects. Washington, D.C.: World Bank

Non-English language sources

There is no need to provide translations of the titles of non-English sources. Please transliterate any non-Latin scripts into Latin letters, e.g.:

Korzhikhina, T. P. 1992. Administrativno-komandnaya sistema upravleniia. Moscow: RGGU
Kulikov, V. 2005. ‘Telefonnoe pravo podsudno’, Rossiiskaya gazeta, 6 September,

Contact us

The Global Informality Project


Professor Alena V. Ledeneva
University College London
School of Slavonic and East European Studies
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