Research Interests

Development; Post-Soviet Politics; Governance Structures


Abel Polese is a scholar and development worker dividing his time between Europe, the former USSR and Southeast Asia. He is Principal Investigator of SHADOW a four year project starting in 2018 funded  through Marie Curie RISE (H2020). SHADOW is a research and training programme with the goal of producing strategic intelligence on the region and train a generation of specialists on informality in post-Soviet spaces.

He has previously worked  as a policy analyst for the European Commission (DG Research) and as a consultant for Austrian and Finnish Agencies for Erasmus+; Estonian Research Council; Rustaveli Foundation; SALTO; YouthForum; WAGGGS; UNOPS) and his project “Sustainable Development in Cultural Diversity” received the Global Education Award by the Council of Europe in 2011. He is a member of the Global Young Academy, gathering scholars from around the world active in research policy and dialogue with non-academic institutions and has been a visiting fellow to the University of Toronto, Harvard University, Renmin University of China, Tbilisi State University, Jawarlahal Nehru University, Tezpur University, Corvinus University, University of Cagliari and the Moscow Higher School of Economics.

He is co-editor of STSS, an open access journal (Q3 in SCOPUS) focusing on governance and social issues the non-Western world. More information at

Contact Details

Recent Publications


  1. Polese, A., C. Williams, I. Ursachi and P. Bejakovic (eds.) (2016 – in press) The Informal Economy in Global Perspective: Varieties of Governance, London: Palgrave -
  2. Polese, A. (2016) Limits of a State: How Informality Replaces, Renegotiates and Reshapes Governance in Post-Soviet Ukraine, Stuttgart: Ibidem Verlag (distributed by Columbia University Press) –
  3. Isaacs, R. and Polese, A. (eds.) (2016) Nation Building and Identity in the Post-Soviet Space: New Tools and Approaches. London: Routledge —
  4. Morris, J. and Polese, A. (eds.) (2015) Informal Economies in Post-Socialist Spaces: Practices, Institutions and Networks, London: Palgrave –
  5. Morris, J. and Polese, A. (eds.) (2014) The Informal Post-Socialist Economy: Embedded Practices and Livelihoods. London and New York: Routledge –

Special issues of journals

  1. Polese, A., B. Kovacs and J. Morris (eds.) (2016) “’States’ of Informality in Post-Socialist Europe”, Journal of Contemporary Central and Eastern Europe (forthcoming)
  2. Williams, C., P. Rodgers and A. Polese (eds) (2016) “Tackling Enterprise in the Informal Economy”, International Journal of Entrepreneurship and Small Business 28(2-3) –
  3. Polese, A., R. Kevlihan and D, Ó Beacháin (eds.) (2016) “Insurgency and Hybrid War in the Former USSR, Small Wars and Insurgencies” 27(3) –
  4. Isaacs, R. and A. Polese (2015) “Between “imagined” and “real” nation-building: identities and nationhood in post-Soviet Central Asia”, Nationalities Papers 43(3) –
  5. Polese, A., J. Morris and B. Kovacs (eds.) (2015) “The Future of the Welfare State in Eurasia”, special issue of the Journal of Eurasian Studies 6(1) –

Peer-reviewed articles

  1. Polese, A., J. Morris and B. Kovacs (2016) “’States’ of Informality in Post-Socialist Europe”, Journal of Contemporary Central and Eastern Europe 24(3): 1-9
  2. Urinboev, R. and A. Polese (2016) “Informality currencies: a tale of Misha, his brigada and informal practices among Uzbek labour migrants in Russia”, Journal of Contemporary Central and Eastern Europe 24(3) (in press)
  3. Polese, A., R. Kevlihan and D, Ó Beacháin (2016) “Hybrid Warfare in Post-Soviet Spaces: Is There a Logic Behind?” Small Wars and Insurgencies 27(3): 361-366 –
  4. Morris, J. and A. Polese (201X) “Informal Health and Education Sector Payments in Russian and Ukrainian Cities: Structuring Welfare From Below” European Urban and Regional Studies – 
  5. Polese, A. and S. Horak (2015) “A tale of two presidents: personality cult and symbolic nation-building in Turkmenistan”, Nationalities Papers 43(3): 457-478 –
  6. Isaacs, R. and A. Polese (2015) “Between “imagined” and “real” nation-building: identities and nationhood in post-Soviet Central Asia”, Nationalities Papers 43(3): 371-382 –
  7. Polese, A., J. Morris, B. Kovacs (2015) “The Failure and Future of the Welfare state in Post-socialism”, Journal of Eurasian Studies 6(1): 1-5 –
  8. Davies, T. and A. Polese (2015) “Informality and Survival in Ukraine’s Nuclear Landscape: Living with the Risks of Chernobyl” Journal of Eurasian Studies 6(1): 35-45 –
  9. Polese, A. (2014) “Informal Payments in Ukrainian Hospitals: on the Boundary between Informal Payments, Gifts and Bribes”, Anthropological Forum 24(4): 381-395 –                   
  10. Polese, A. J. Morris, B. Kovacs, I. Harboe (2014) “‘Welfare states’ in Central and Eastern Europe: Where Informality fits in”, Journal of Contemporary European Studies 22(2): 184-198 –
  11. Polese, A. (2014) “Between Official and Unofficial Temperatures: a Complication to the Hot and Cold Ethnicity Theory from Odessa” Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development 35(2):59-75 –