Working Paper 59

Market, State and Community in Uzbekistan: reworking the concept of the informal economy

Johan Rasanayagam

Department ‘Resilience and Transformation in Eurasia’

Year of publication

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Working Paper 59

Socialist and post-socialist societies are often described as having state and shadow economies, or formal and informal sectors. Such dual economy models, however, do not always take full account of the complex character of economic activity as it is actually practised, and it is often difficult to make a clear distinction between separate sectors. In this paper I offer an alternative way of conceptualising business and economic activity. I propose a model of economic spheres where the focus is on boundaries which are the product of state power and local moral categories. I suggest that this more clearly reflects lived experience. It allows us to see how people experience and interact with the state in the context of economic activity, and to explore their judgements about what the ideal form of this relationship should be.

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