BS (Social Sciences & Liberal Arts)

Faculty / School

Faculty of Business Administration (FBA)


Department of Social Sciences & Liberal Arts

Date of Award

Spring 2017

Date of Submission



Dr. Nausheen H. Anwar, Professor, Department of Social Sciences

Project Type

SSLA Culminating Experience

Access Type

Restricted Access


Formal and Informal are binary tropes used to look at urban spaces that are used to define cleavages, both territorial and economic. They entail a dichotomous relationship, with the formal being regular, the norm, something that is legitimate. The informal is everything that is illicit, irregular and beyond the writ of the state, encompassing slums, shanty housing, and private economic activities carried out by the urban poor to ensure their livelihood, that is, the informal economy. This works is an intervention in this dualistic understanding of formal and informal through a case study on Khalid Bin Walid Road in P.E.C.H.S. It makes a case for the conception of informality in the postcolonial society by analyzing Khalid Bin Walid road as an urban space, a site that exhibits the conventional understanding of both the formal and informal, as theorized by local scholars like Haris Gazdar. In doing so, I posit that the informal is not an epistemological tool of looking at an isolated sphere in urban spaces that stands in opposition to the formal, rather, it is a feature that defines the post-colonial state. I employ theories by Ananya Roy and Partha Chatterjee to not only problematize the dualistic understanding of formal informal but attempts to define what the informal looks like in post-colonial societies. It is part of the state structure, in its fragmented forms. It is part of the ways the state claims control in its fragmented form by granting leverages to certain, powerful section of the society.



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