Within and Beyond the Law: The Ethics of Collective Action in Urban Markets, Peru
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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This article focuses on collective action and leadership in processes of (in)formalizing market work. It examines ways in which semi-legal actors employ ‘modes of administration’ and suggests that market leaders enact a form of ‘state proxy’ by drawing on an ethic of collective action rooted in Andean notions of kinship, work, and exchange. The article argues that we need to explore this ethic to understand the uncertainties of informality at the crossroads between state and local modes of administration. While organizational leaders in studies of informality are often absent, the article demonstrates the importance of understanding the market leaders’ ambiguous position at the crossroads between a collectivist grassroots ethics and state authority. It explores why vendors often stay loyal to their leaders, despite widespread accusations of corruption, and explains this in terms of the ethic of collective action that are at work in local organizations among urban migrants.