The Development of Open‐air Markets in East‐Central Europe


This paper considers the way in which open‐air markets have developed as a legacy of both the communist and pre‐communist systems, but have taken distinctive forms in the post‐communist context. The small‐scale capitalism represented by open‐air markets is often informal and not often analysed in the context of the transformation process in East and Central Europe. However, this paper argues that they can represent an important indicator of some aspects of the nature and extent of economic and social transformation. The paper considers theoretical insights for analysing open‐air markets and particular features of post‐communist open‐air markets: the degree of informalization; the role of ethnic communities; moral perspectives on markets; open‐air markets and social capital or other forms of informal social control; and the role of social structure in understanding open‐air markets.