9th Conference European Sociological Association

RS10 Socio-Anthropology of Trans-national Migrations and Migrants' Families

2009-09-05 15:30:00 2009-09-05 17:00:00 Saturday, 5 September 15:30 - 17:00 How Migrants Use New Technologies and Change World Cities Building II, C2.05

Informal economies in the informal city: The case of alternative household's incomes found in hindu families

Underground economy has been studied under three different aspects: criminal activities; financial abuse; and informal economy. In this presentation, I will address the last type. In the last years, I have been conducting research with the Hindu community at Quinta da Vitória neighborhood, in Loures municipality (Great Lisbon), which is an informal dwelling cluster that has been through a rehousing process since the early 1990s. Local hindus are transnational migrants with low taxes of labor stability.
Sixteen years ago, the Portuguese government introduced a special social housing program for those living in so-called shanty towns, which was not yet totally accomplished. Shanty town dwellers were then seen as undistinguished poverty victims, despite of their different economic, cultural and historical backgrounds.
Some families develop informal economic strategies in order to fulfill their monthly incomes. Main forms of informal economy that can be found in the neighborhood are sewing, cooking and cloths trade. Costumers are for the most part of the Hindu community, though neighbors may be alternative clients. Despite the fact that this type of informal economy is of course not exclusive of the local Hindu community, specific socio-political and cultural contextualization, which will be at stake in the presentation, contribute to the informal sector in the neighborhood.
Out of the formal system control, informal labor market is an issue that is not understood clearly by local authorities that are managing the neighborhood rehousing process. These and other questions concerning the Hindu community informal economies at Quinta da Vitória will be at stake in the paper, following new approaches about the informal city and concerning new data from the fieldwork with a transnational Hindu population.