Book Launch: A Hitchhiker’s Guide to Informal Problem-Solving in Human Life

Book Talk
Event Format
In person
CGIS South, S354, 1730 Cambridge St, Cambridge, MA 02138

The Global Encyclopaedia of Informality offers a journey into the world’s open secrets, unwritten rules, and hidden practices. Its third volume — available in open access — focuses on issues of emotional ambivalence and the pressures of the digital age on humanity. The informal practices presented in this volume demonstrate the urgency of alleviating tensions between continuity and all too rapid change and the need to tackle the central problem of modern societies — uncertainty. We will take you on a "biographical" journey through elusive, taken-for-granted, or banal ways of getting things done from over 70 countries and world regions. The book challenges the assumption that informality is associated exclusively with poverty, underdevelopment, the Global South, oppressive regimes, or the formerly socialist countries of Eastern Europe and Central Asia. It also maps the patterns of informality around the globe, identifies specific informal practices in a context-sensitive way, and documents their ambivalent impact on people engaged in problem-solving, societies where these problems arise, and humanity overall. Join Davis Center fellow Malika Toqmadi, the book’s co-editor, for a discussion of these “shades of gray” around the globe.

Refreshments will be provided.


The Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies at Harvard University encourages persons with disabilities to participate in its programs and activities. If you anticipate needing any type of accommodation or have questions about the physical access provided, please contact us at 617-495-4037 or in advance of your participation or visit. Requests for Sign Language interpreters and/or CART providers should be made at least two weeks in advance if possible. Please note that the Davis Center will make every effort to secure services but that services are subject to availability.