Invisible Work, Invisible Workers:
Informal Work in Ballymurphy

Dr Madeleine Leonard 1993. ISBN 0-9521888-1-3

Available in photocopy format only. Dr Madeleine Leonard delivered the Inaugural Frank Cahill Memorial Lecture in August 1993. The lecture is based on Dr Leonard's research in the Ballymurphy area of West Belfast. In her survey of a sample of 150 households (one in four of all Ballymurphy households), 76% of males and 78% of females had no formal employment. She did however, identify "the existence and vitality of the various informal institutions prevalent in the area".

Nevertheless, the area is one of multiple disadvantage, and as Dr Leonard makes clear, "...no informal economic strategy, no matter how developed, can ever wipe out this deprivation. Rather my intention here is to focus on the range of economic practices implemented by the residents of Ballymurphy in their efforts to make ends meet."

Six basic types of informal economic activity were prevalent: self-provisioning within households; reciprocity between households; voluntary work; community self-employment; 'doing the double'; and 'shady economic activities'.

An interesting feature of the study was the differences between the involvement of men and women in informal economic activity.

The pamphlet also includes a tribute to Frank Cahill.

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