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Geographical Variations in the Nature of Undeclared Work

Colin C. Williams
Geografiska Annaler. Series B, Human Geography
Vol. 86, No. 3 (2004), pp. 187-200
Published by: Wiley on behalf of the Swedish Society for Anthropology and Geography
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3554331
Page Count: 14
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Geographical Variations in the Nature of Undeclared Work
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Abstract

Inspired by a stream of cultural economic geographical thought that has sought to deconstruct the view that monetary transactions are everywhere market-like and profit-motivated, this paper seeks to reread the nature of undeclared work. Conventionally, such work has been seen as epitomising unbridled profit-motivated market-like monetised exchange, and depictions of the geographical variations in its character have distinguished only between various types of profit-motivated informal employment in different area types. Drawing upon detailed empirical evidence from eleven deprived and affluent localities in urban and rural England, however, it is here displayed that universally portraying undeclared work as a form of profit-motivated informal employment over-simplifies and obscures its. spatially variable nature and heterogeneous meanings. Although undeclared work in affluent locality types and urban areas is more likely to be market-like and conducted for profit-motivated purposes, undeclared work in deprived locality types and rural areas is revealed to be much more a form of mutual aid conducted for kin, neighbours and friends and embedded in non-market motives. The outcome is not only a refiguring of the geographical variations in the nature of undeclared work but also clear evidence of the need to investigate other mainstream economic spaces so as to explore further the heterogeneous and spatially variable nature of monetised transactions.

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