Out of the Shadows

Political Action and the Informal Economy in Latin America

Edited by Patricia Fernández-Kelly, Jon Shefner

Hardback - £82.95

Publication date:

01 March 2006

Length of book:

288 pages


Penn State University Press

ISBN-13: 9780271027500

Since the beginning of scholarly writing about the informal economy in the mid-1970s, the debate has evolved from addressing survival strategies of the poor to considering the implications for national development and the global economy. Simultaneously, research on informal politics has ranged from neighborhood clientelism to contentious social movements basing their claims on a variety of social identities in their quest for social justice.

Despite related empirical and theoretical concerns, these research traditions have seldom engaged in dialogue with one another. Out of the Shadows brings leading scholars of the informal economy and informal politics together to address how globalization has influenced local efforts to resolve political and economic needs—and how these seemingly separate issues are indeed deeply related.

In addition to the editors, contributors are Javier Auyero, Miguel Angel Centeno, Sylvia Chant, Robert Gay, Mercedes González de la Rocha, José Itzigsohn, Alejandro Portes, and Juan Manuel Ramírez Sáiz.

“With few exceptions, scholars from Left to Right have presented simplistic accounts of the political ramifications of economic informality in the underdeveloped world. Such depictions have been curiously out of sync with the salutary influence of the ‘bringing the state back in’ scholarship of the last couple of decades or so. This volume makes a crucial contribution to the scholarly and policy literatures by emphasizing the embeddedness of informal economies in state-society arrangements that cut across local, national, and transnational terrains of the Latin American and global political economies. The volume represents essential reading for scholars, policy specialists, students, and others who seek to make sense of the politico-social consequences of deepening inequality and poverty in the contemporary world.”

—Richard Tardanico, Florida International University