The informal economy is an employer, a nuisance, and a goldmine: Multiple representations of and responses to informality in Accra, Ghana

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Journal Article
Urban Anthropology, 2011, 40 (3-4), pp. 263 - 284
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An analysis of multiple sources of evidence, including field interviews and non-participant observation, shows that the informal economy in Accra, Ghana has a complex relationship with the state, not only as a nuisance or employer, but also as an avenue to reward and punish political supporters and opponents. Although informal people are regularly being forcibly evicted, they are not merely "on the run." Rather, they, in turn, are regularly engaging the state in multiple ways to maintain or reclaim urban space, a struggle that is sometimes mediated by civil society organizations acting as a "third way." Being a drama that benefits aspects of the state, such as the government, it is unlikely to end soon without greater struggle against the state. © 2011 The Institute, Inc.
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