Unusual actors: Forms and effects on the informal in the Caribbean
What is the role of informal institutions in the evolution of the economic, political and social aspects of Caribbean basin? Diacronie will analyze the economic and social development of the area, focusing on the role played by informal actors, namely the ones moving between legality and illegality, that were able (or are able) to give the individual (no matter if a customer, consumer or merchant) what the laws prohibit…
What is the role of informal institutions in the evolution of the economic, political and social aspects of Caribbean basin? Diacronie will analyze the economic and social development of the area, focusing on the role played by informal actors, namely the ones moving between legality and illegality, that were able (or are able) to give the individual (no matter if a customer, consumer or merchant) what the laws prohibit. The objective is to examine both contemporary phenomena and phenomena which, although related to the early modern age, have generated long-term consequences in the history of the regions related to it. In fact, books such as Sanjay Subrahmanyam’s European commercial expansion in early modern Asia (Variorum, Aldershot-Brookfield 1996), Wim Klooster’s Illicit Riches (KITLV, Leiden 1998), Alan Karras’s Smuggling (Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Lanham 2010)and Linda Rupert’s Creolization and Contraband (University of Georgia Press, Athens 2012), that analyze ultra secular phenomena, demonstrated the existing continuity between economic and social, transnational and transcultural events. In these studies, the informal actor (the pirate, the smuggler, the drug trafficker) acquires an active role in socio-economic development of the colonial and post-colonial society to which it belongs, leaving a lasting impression on its evolution.
We will deal with commercial networks, around which economic and social phenomena are produced, such as smuggling, piracy or drug trafficking, in different shapes and sizes, in a region – the Caribbean – characterized by a deep interpenetration between informal and formal institutions, often complementary to each other.
Following the wake of contributions from the recent publications related to the economic and social history of the region, from Peter Coclanis’s The Atlantic Economy during the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries (University of South Carolina Press, Columbia 2005) to Tom Farer’s Transnational crime in the Americas: an inter-American dialogue book (Routledge, New York 1999), this approach involves modern and contemporary historians in analyzing these phenomena, in order to examine the role of informality in different periods in which key economic and political institutions emerged and consolidated in this area.
The CFP is therefore addressed in particular to research that deal with:
– Creation of informal economic networks, and their impact on local societies;
– Smuggling, piracy and drug trafficking, from the seventeenth to the twenty-first century: forms and structures;
– Informal actors in the region: origin and development;
– Informal networks as transcultural challenge or complementary mechanism to the systems and national monopoly.
– Informal groups’ role and socio-economic importance in the Central American-Caribbean basin communities, and in the areas connected to it through trade.
How to send an article
The authors interestedin this CFP can submit their article in Italian, English, French or Spanish (30.000-40.000 characters, including spaces, footnotes and bibliographies) at redazione.diacronie[at]hotmail.it. Please refer to http://www.studistorici.com/proposte-di-contributi/) at: for style and templates requirements. Please notify as soon as possible, by contacting the editors, of your intention to participate with an article. The deadline for the proposal abstract (1.500 characters) is 30th November 2012. Final submission must be sent by 15th February 2013.
Thank you in advance for your interest in the project!
Università di Bologna