Everyday tactics and spaces of power: the role of informal economies in post-Soviet Ukraine

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Utilising de Certeau's concepts of daily life and his delineation between strategies and tactics as everyday practices this paper examines the role of informal economies in post-Ukraine. Based on 700 household surveys and seventy-five in-depth interviews, conducted in three Ukrainian cities, the paper argues that individuals/households have developed a wide range of tactics in response to the economic marginalisation the country has endured since the collapse of the Soviet Union. Firstly, the paper details the importance of informal economies in contemporary Ukraine while highlighting that many such practices are operated out of necessity due to low wage and pension rates and high levels of corruption. This challenges state-produced statistics on the scale of economic marginalisation currently experienced in the country. By exploring a variety of these tactics the paper then examines how unequal power relations shape the spaces in which these practices operate in and how they can be simultaneously sites of exploitation and resistance to economic marginalisation. The paper concludes pessimistically by suggesting that the way in which these economic spaces are shaped precludes the development of state policies which might benefit the economically marginalised.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)171-185
Number of pages15
JournalSocial and Cultural Geography
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2008


  • everyday life, Ukraine, power, economic marginalisation, coping tactics, informal economies