Special Session 2: Small Trade in Post-Soviet Cities: Between Regulation and Informality

Diverse Regions: Building Resilient Communities and Territories - Izmir, Turkey

Session Organisers:
Lela Rekviashvili, Central European University, Hungary (L_Rekviashvili@ifl-leipzig.de)
Carola S. Neugebauer, Leibniz-Institut für Länderkunde, Leipzig, Germany (C_Neugebauer@ifl-leipzig.de)

Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, inhabitants of the major cities of the region had to find individual, often informal solutions to cope with social and economic challenges that followed the disintegration of redistributive socialist economy. In the beginning of 1990s, spontaneously expanding and unregulated trade as well as service provision became part of the solution for the urban population in the face of increased unemployment, vulnerability and absence of state support. Hence, building the resilience in a bottom up manner was widespread. Overtime, the national and local governments of the Post-Soviet states developed own agendas and visions of modernizing the cities that sometimes clashed with the interests of the smaller scale traders and entrepreneurs. The aim of this session is to bring together the scholars that research the transformation of Post-Soviet cities, the top down visions and policies aimed at regulating economic practices, bottom up evolution and transformation of economic practices, and the mechanisms and institutions that bridge the two.

While we expect that the contributions to the session are empirically focused on Post-Soviet cities and transformation of economic practices, particularly small trade, we encourage diversity in terms of theorizing the subject. The concepts deployed for analyzes can include, but are not limited to:

1. The distinction between formal and Informal practices and institutions
2. Usage of public versus private space for trade and other income generating activities
3. Small trade as a survival mechanism or entrepreneurship
4. Networks of reciprocity and economy of favors
5. Role of formal institutional design and state’s enforcement capacity
6. Regulation versus deregulation
7. Movement towards marketization of economy and social-cultural embededness of economic practices

Submission Guidelines

Anyone interested in participating in the session should register for the conference before April 6th 2014 by clicking here and following the link. Please ensure that your abstracts are no longer than 800 words, text only. If you have any questions regarding this special session, please contact the session organisers on the email addresses provided. 

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