UCL European Institute


Global Informality


The Global Informality Project is an interdisciplinary research project led by UCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies and supported by the UCL European Institute. It provides the first multimedia online resource that explores informal practices and structures from a global perspective.

Through its comparative and ethnographic investigations, the encyclopaedia explores the existence of multiple moralities, which account for the resilience of informal practices, and explore their legitimacy and institutional arrangements, as well as the cultural and historical contexts of informality.

The project has delivered an online resource, overseen by UCL's Information Studies/Centre for Digital Humanities, to unite scholars of informality all over the world, and provides a platform for the submission and curation of informal practises across the globe. It is a comprehensive, easily accessible resource targeting not only the academic community, but also policymakers, businesses and the public.

Current entries are available for viewing on the wiki and an archive of newsletters is also available online.

Two major volumes, both edited by Professor Alena Ledeneva, were published by UCL Press in January 2018. By mapping the grey zones, blurred boundaries, types of ambivalence and contexts of complexity, these books create the first Global Map of Informality.