Survival, Resistance, Adaptation: Informal Practices in Poland and Hungary

Initially prepared as an introduction to the thematic issue of the Replika, the chapter offers an insight into the rich literature on informality and informal social practices. The first and second part of the chapter presents theoretical approaches and concepts, including the long-term history of informality in a semi-peripheral perspective in East-Central Europe. The third and fourth part provide an analytical framework for understanding informalities in the context of socialist and post-socialist Hungary and Poland. This framework is based on approaches which consider informality as a practice of crisis management, a form of resistance, and a social heritage in which knowledge transfer plays an important role. None of these approaches, however, exclude the others, but represent peculiar features of a complex phenomenon in a compatible way. From a longue durée perspective informal practices are part of a long-term social adaptation process which transforms accumulated social knowledge into new adaptive forms and practices responding to the changing needs of semi-peripheral societies.

Released: Replika 110, 11–31.