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A culture of informality

Néstor García Canclini

Urban Studies, 2019, vol. 56, issue 3, 488-493

Abstract: This article offers an ethnographic account of informality, showing the complicity between the formal sector and the informal economy. Taking the reader on a car journey of urban disorganisation and traffic jams in Mexico City, the analysis shows how informality has become part of an everyday social contract. It is argued that the diverse world of informal practices, working as a popular survival strategy, is also entrenched in the workings of formal institutions, which draw on under-the-counter agreements and exchanges with the illegal economy, be that in the construction of public works in the city, in film and clothes piracy or in the public provision of water, transport, light or Internet services. The global hegemonic system could not function without these agreements: the transition from informality to illegality is slippery. If Mexico City is a global city it is not just for participating in the networks of transnational corporations, consulting firms and international tourism; it is also because of its networks with super brands in legal and illegal production. The article concludes by suggesting that an informal system of production, transactions and distribution of goods and services linking entrepreneurs from all continents can position the city on a global scale through non-hegemonic globalisation.

Keywords: entrepreneurs; globalisation and illegality; informal sector; Mexico City; ä¼ ä¸šå®¶; å…¨ç ƒåŒ–å’Œé žæ³•; é žæ­£è§„éƒ¨é—¨; 墨西哥城 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2019
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