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Travelling with the Argonauts: Informal Networks Seen without a Vertical Lens

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Travelling with the Argonauts

Informal Networks Seen without a Vertical Lens

Małgorzata Irek

234 pages, bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-78533-898-4 $135.00/£99.00 / Hb / Published (June 2018)

eISBN 978-1-78533-899-1 eBook

Hb View cartYour country: United States - edit   Buy the eBook! $29.95 Request a Review or Examination Copy (in Digital Format) Recommend to your Library Available in GOBI®


Travelling with the Argonauts is undoubtedly a treasure trove of information for anyone with a broader interest in informal trade and migration in Central and Eastern Europe. More specifically, this study is an excellent first-hand resource on informality: that is, social interaction unregulated ‘by official institutions and rules’ in Poland.” • JRAI (Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute)

“I find it very hard to fault this book. It is wide-ranging, while also having a consistent set of related arguments, and ethnographically exceptionally rich… An interesting and original work in many dimensions.” • Robert Parkin, University of Oxford


Drawing on rich ethnographic materials from longitudinal fieldwork on informal trading routes across Europe, Travelling with the Argonauts offers a new perspective in the research of the social space, reflecting on how best to investigate amorphous social phenomena, such as informal networks. Breaking with much current theory, the approach detailed here – the ‘Restricted Verticality Perspective’ – examines the horizontal dimension of social relations, and understands informality not as marginal or substandard, but as life itself, as the real experience of ordinary people.

Małgorzata Irek is a sociologist, anthropologist, and philologist. For over thirty years, she has researched social phenomena connected with the informal economy, including “irregular” migration, informal employment, and informal networks.

Subject: Anthropology (General) Theory and Methodology Mobility Studies
Area: Europe


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