The informal sector and survival in Chernobyl: Ethnography of a nuclear place

methaodos.revista de ciencias sociales. 2015;3(2) DOI 10.17502/m.rcs.v3i2.87


Journal Homepage

Journal Title: methaodos.revista de ciencias sociales

ISSN: 2340-8413 (Online)

Publisher: Universidad Rey Juan Carlos

Society/Institution: Universidad Rey Juan Carlos

LCC Subject Category: Social Sciences: Sociology (General)

Country of publisher: Spain

Language of fulltext: Spanish; Castilian, English

Full-text formats available: PDF, HTML



Thom Davies (Universidad de Warwick)
Abel Polese


Double blind peer review

Editorial Board

Instructions for authors

Time From Submission to Publication: 24 weeks


Abstract | Full Text

<p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom: 0.0001pt; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 7.0pt; font-family: 'Segoe UI Symbol',sans-serif; color: #424244; mso-ansi-language: EN-US;" lang="EN-US">Recent informality debates have started exploring, in addition to monetary and pure economic transactions, non-monetary ones, often embedded in long term and established social relations. In spite of this, the role informality plays in various aspects of people's lives has been studied only partly. In our work we explore the case of a retiring state that stops providing benefits and social services to a given area of a country. We concentrate our analysis on the practices and mechanisms that emerge from this de jure and de facto abandonment by both the state and the private sector. By so doing, we concentrate a large variety of transactions and actors that emerge to replace the state and shed the basis for a large and comprehensive informal welfare mechanism. The geographical area studied here is the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone in Ukraine. We maintain that these areas have seen the establishment and consolidation of mechanisms of social security completely independent from, but yet complementing, the state welfare provider. We will show that informality, and informal practices, are vital to survival in a marginalised and risky environment.</span></p>