CenPRIS SEMINAR SERIES
"The Political Cultures of Informality in Europe: Personalized Relations, Networks and Coalitions"
Date : August 14, 2014 (Thursday)
Time : 10.00a.m.—12.00p.m., CenPRIS Meeting Room, Universiti Sains Malaysia
The concept of informality often evokes the idea of disorder and dysfunction in a society. At this point,
anthropologists need to question whether this viewpoint may be the outcome of an ethnocentric prejudice, especially since informality and its social practices are often associated with societies regarded as non-western, pre-modern, backward, and consequently unable to organize themselves rationally by means of formal structural models. This dichotomy puts forth a polarized vision between developed West-European societies and so called under-developed Mediterranean and Balkan societies by which the latter are Orientalized. The object of my presentation is to show that political cultures based on informality are not anomic but socially organized through a multitude of relationships, networks and personalized coalitions of trust that are able to make society function when the State and its formal institutions are unable to fulfill their role, hence are unable to attain the required legitimacy to govern. The main thesis of this presentation is that informality and its social practices are the indispensable oil for the workings of the (public) social machinery rather in so called failing Statehoods.