Informal networks, practices and institutions may be observed in many different social contexts, particularly in politics. In certain political regimes, certain forms of informality are to be expected and are also tolerated more than in others. Political informality in Eastern Europe may be presented on an axis with two poles, with many variants or combinations of informality and formality between them. These positions also allow the identification of specific regime types and legal systems. This chapter seeks to contextualize the distinction between the formal and the informal and to relate it to types of political regime, the principal focus resting on informal politics. Specific political contexts may produce practices of informality that have become so generalised that they can be described as cultures of informality. The interesting question is: to what extent are specific forms of informal structures more resilient in particular regime types than in others? Particularly looking at some of the more-or-less autocratic Euroasiatic states, one can easily recognize that the very purpose of informal politics and institutions is to restrict or eliminate political competition. Forms and meanings of what is informal and formal change the further one moves eastwards. Formal rules are and may be used together with informal institutions to control society. All this points to specific cultures of informality that can be observed, as well as different cultures of trust and distrust. On the other hand, such cultures of informality have to be considered in the context of specific political systems, together with their regimes (the concrete configurations of political power) and their organisations. This paper looks particularly at hybrid non-democracies and suggests one might consider them, in the perspective of Niklas Luhmann‘s system theory, as parasites of functional differentiation.

Hayoz, N. (2016) Informal Networks of Power and Control of Deviation in Post-Soviet Non-Democracies. International Relations and Diplomacy, 4 (1): 60-69.