Panel at DSA conference: Power, marginalization and inclusion in the governance of urban informal economies

  • Friday 2 July, 2021
  • 10:00-11:45 and 14:15-16:00 (UTC+1)

This panel session at the 2021 Development Studies Association Conference, convened by Graeme Young, will explore how informal economies in cities in the Global South are governed; how different forms of governance might reinforce or transform power structures, exacerbate or address marginalization and impede or promote inclusive development; and what inclusive governance might entail.

Register your attendance via the DSA conference website.


Unsettling development demands an engagement with questions of power, marginalization and possibilities for inclusion. This panel will explore these by focusing on the governance of urban informal economies in the Global South.

Presenters will be encouraged to address one or more of the following questions:

  1. How can interdisciplinary approaches to the governance of informality provide critical insights into its evolution, its dynamics and possibilities for change?
  2. How are the forms of exclusion that exist in the informal economy connected to power dynamics and other forms of marginalization surrounding class, gender, racial/ethnic identity, religion, migration, age and/or (dis)ability? How does governance reinforce, seek to address or neglect these dynamics and forms of marginalization?
  3. What can the governance of informality reveal about state power; strategies of political control; forms of political competition, contestation and negotiation; representation; and the role of institutions in development?
  4. What roles can different actors, including associations, unions, cooperatives, civil society groups and other organizations, play in governance and/or promoting inclusion?
  5. How does informal economic activity facilitate, restrict or otherwise interact with strategies of accumulation and dispossession? How are these strategies connected to governance?
  6. How does the governance of informal economies change during periods of crisis, including the COVID-19 pandemic, and what implications does this have for individuals who engage in informal economic activity?
  7. What would the inclusive governance of informal economies entail in theory and practice, either in specific contexts or more generally? How could this be realized?

There are two panel sessions with different papers being presented. See timings below.

Accepted papers – panel session I (Friday 2 July, 10:00-11:45 (UTC+1)):
  • The politics and partisan patronage of Harare’s designated markets.
  • Understanding women’s roles in hybrid governance in informal contexts: Vendors perspective from Awagasi market in Papua New Guinea
  • Ethnography of urban governance from below: A case study of COVID 19 response of a slum in Bangladesh
Accepted papers – panel session II (Friday 2 July, 14:15-16:00 (UTC+1)):
  • Power Dynamics and the Marginalization of Displaced Households: A Case of Urban Infrastructure Project of Metro Line.
  • Who decides? Rural households and migration decisions in India
  • Economic exclusion and Precariousness of Lives during COVID: the case of Domestic Workers in Bangladesh
  • Understanding the Governance of Informal Economies: The Importance of Class