ABSTRACT

Drawing inspiration from the burgeoning corpus of post-structuralist scholars, as discussed in the previous chapter, who have begun to question the narrative of the impending hegemony of the formal market economy in post-Soviet societies and beyond, this chapter seeks to further advance this emergent ‘diverse economies’ literature by constructing an analytical lens for representing the multiple labour practices in economies. Transcending the simplistic formal/informal economy dichotomy, this chapter seeks to conceptualise the multiple kinds of labour that exist in post-Soviet societies by adopting a ‘total social organisation of labour’ approach. As will be shown, this conceptualises a spectrum from formal-oriented to informal-oriented labour practices, which is cross-cut by another spectrum ranging from wholly monetised to wholly non-monetised labour practices. The resultant outcome is to provide an analytical lens for capturing the plurality of labour practices that exist in post-Soviet societies in a manner which shows how they all seamlessly merge into each other. Having developed this conceptual framework for analysing diverse economies, the second section of this chapter then applies this to understanding the multifarious labour practices used in Ukraine and Russia. Presenting the overarching results of 600 interviews conducted across various populations in Ukraine and 313 interviews conducted in Moscow, the outcome will be to begin to reveal not only the shallow permeation of the formal market economy in Ukraine and Russia, which have been supposedly undergoing a ‘transition’ to formal market economies, but also the existence of diverse work cultures across different populations along with marked socio-spatial variations in the nature of individual labour practices. This sets the scene for the rest of the book, which unravels the lived experiences of transition in these post-Soviet societies.