Invoking a Culture – Deploying a Past: Albanian Identifications and Translocal Encounters

Authors: Schwandner-Sievers, S.

Conference: University of Roehampton, Dept of Social Sciences


This thesis traces internal and external identity constructions of Albanians through recourse to specific local Albanian pasts in post-socialist, including post-war, translocal and globalised realms of encounters. In this the main (but not exclusive) focus is on the role of traditionalist signifiers, their historical legacy and the ways in which these have informed perceptions of Albanianness both of themselves and by others, sometimes in unexpected complicity. My publications, as assembled in this thesis, demonstrate that identity-constitutive recourse to specific pasts, particularly to tropes of pre-communist north-Albanian customary law, frequently and stereotypically subsumed under the Ottoman term, kanun, have shaped and framed not just ideas about Albanianness but also served to delineate concrete social relations and relations of power, to justify social and political exclusion and inclusion as well as practices of resistance and subversion both between and among Albanians as well as with non-Albanians alike. Such identity constructions in traditionalist terms of Self or Other, respectively, as observed during the last twenty years in multi-sited ethnography, emerged from and were negotiated at, interconnected arenas of power where people as well as ideas about Albanians meet and matter still today with real social and political consequences in practice.

Source: Manual

Preferred by: Stephanie Schwandner-Sievers