Contesting Informality: Hamas and the Tunnel Trade in Gaza

Hinze Nielsen, Julie Marit, Kristoffer Strandhauge, Lasse Juhl Morthorst, Mikkel Hansen & Freja Borg Drabæk

Studenteropgave: Semesterprojekt


This chapter explores the concept of informality by analysing the organisation of Hamas’ mode of conduct, in relation to tunnel trade between the Gaza Strip and the Egyptian Sinai Peninsula. The chapter is divided into three analytical parts, which discuss respectively Hamas as a legitimate government and development actor; the relationship between illicit, illegal and informal; and whether Hamas’ management of the tunnel trade can be characterised as a formalisation process or a normalisation process. The analysis reveals that the concept of informality contains a conceptual elasticity, which entails a fluidity in the definition of what is formal/informal, licit/illicit, and legal/illegal in the case of tunnel trade in Gaza. This fluidity is directly transmissible to the normalisation/formalisation continuum, and consequently Hamas’ management contains elements of both normalising and formalising nature. Whether Hamas can be viewed as a formal or informal state- and development actor, depends on the perspective of the observer.

UddannelserInternationale Udviklingsstudier, (Bachelor/kandidatuddannelse) Bachelor el. kandidat
Udgivelsesdato25 maj 2016


  • Gaza
  • illicit
  • Hamas
  • Informality
  • Tunnel trade