The Ambivalence of Favour

Alena Ledeneva

in Economies of Favour after Socialism

Published in print January 2017 | ISBN: 9780199687411
Published online January 2017 | e-ISBN: 9780191767128 | DOI:
The Ambivalence of Favour

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This chapter offers a network-based typology of favours that seeks to reflect their ambivalence—the degree of uncertainty of obligation in social relations and intermittent display of the features of the gift, the commodity, and endowment from personal networks. It argues that an ‘economy of favours’ differs from widespread exchange of favours in a number of ways. Firstly, an economy of favours operates on the basis of favours of access, originating in the redistribution of public resources. It can also be differentiated by its scale and the magnitude of ambivalence: substantive, functional, and normative. Opening the volume, Ledeneva supplies a research agenda for the study of ‘economies of favours’ on the basis of conceptual innovation, methodological experimentation, and comparative challenge while remaining sensitive to the fact that such research agendas stumble upon the conceptual issues of ambivalence and the methodological difficulties of dealing with open secrets in the field.

Keywords: ambivalence; typology of favours; favours of access; gift; commodity; open secrets

Chapter.  12324 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Economic Systems

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