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Abstracts: AJP, Volume II (2006)




Occidentalizing the Past and Orientalizing the Present: Ismail Kadare’s and President Moisiu’s “European”Albanian Identity

With the rise of Albania’s prospects for joining the European Union, the discourse of Europeanness of Albanian identity has been gaining a strong momentum within political and intellectual discourses in Albania. While such discourses of approximating Albanian identity to a perceived European one represent nothing new, little attention has been paid as to its nature and implications within Albanian political and intellectual space and how much it reflects contemporary discourse outside Albania. By employing a conceptual analysis method, this paper analyzes the meanings behind two recent texts of Albanian President, Alfred Moisiu, and of the internationally acclaimed writer, Ismail Kadare. The paper maintains that the “European” Identity of Albanians as perceived by Kadare and Moisiu is Eurocentric, essentialist, fundamentalist and anti-modernist. Europe is seen as a Christian cultural space, positively constructed, yet a static and religiously intolerant entity, exclusive towards the Other. Such discourses are unproductive and unnecessary in the contemporary Albanian and European context.

Mental Mapping: Southeastern Europe, a Politically “Contaminated” or a Historical Meso-Region

Since its introduction in Germany in the mid 19th century, the geographical concept of “Southeastern Europe” has undergone controversial perceptions and polemical (re)demarcations. This is not only due to evident ethnic, linguistic, economic, religious or cultural diversity of the region but also to methodology, ideology, research field, time period and purpose of the observer. Starting at least from the era of the nation-state building, the Balkans/Southeastern Europe have been consistently projected as an area of opposing European economic, political and cultural interests. By focusing on the imaginary construct of “Southeastern Europe” during the time of Weimar Republic and German National Socialism, this article aims to stress the following: The ongoing process of European integration and that of deconstructing nationalistic patterns, historiographies, myths and stereotypes of Eastern Europe, runs the high risk of constructing new clichés and imaginary borders on the region. In other words, geo-spatial divisions are not given, they are produced.


Alpion, Gezim. 2006. Review of Mother Teresa: A Saint from Skopje, by Hiromi Josepha Kudo. Albanian Journal of Politics II(2): 120-122. [Download in PDF]

Prifti, Renis. 2006. Review of Kosova Express. A Journey in Wartime, by James Pettifer. Albanian Journal of Politics II(2): 123-124. [Download in PDF]

AJP, VOL. II, ISSUE 1 (MAY 2006)



“Sworn Virgins” as supporters of Patriarchy

In traditional patriarchal society in the southern Balkans, there has long been an option providing male heirs where none actually exist: a girl or woman herself, or her parents even at birth, may declare that she has become a male. In these cases the female thenceforth dresses as a boy/man, performs male tasks and mixes socially as a male. With the change she swears virginity and may never revert to her birth gender. In this way inheritance of a family home is assured. This possibility is also open as an honorable way for a girl to refuse to marry a specific man who has been chosen as her future husband. "Sworn virgins" still live in Northern Albania, where they are completely respected in their male roles within their tightknit societies. This phenomenon actually supports the strict patriarchal system, still in place in northern Albania, if also ambiguously, allowing subordinated females a way to a freer life.

“Get armed and buy your women” or What did the turn-of-the-century globetrotter see in northern Albania?

This text would look into the complex interplay of sexual and cultural difference in the process of constructing the latter through the analysis of representations of women from northern Albania in travel accounts from the second half of the nineteenth and the beginning of the twentieth centuries. The discussion of the representations of indigenous women reflects articulation of both, the viewers’ sexuality ideology and political positions. Ideas are placed within the broader framework of the analysis of the representations of the Balkans as the area of “narrative” colonialism during the delineated period, with the woman seen as embodying tradition and the essence of the region. Through the polyphony of the representations of northern Albanian women, mostly colored by sensual curiosity and latent colonial tendencies, by travelers’ fantasy and desire, there appear the descriptions of poverty and hard living conditions, particularly those of women, that very likely do reflect, in a great extent, “a reality out there.”

The Absence of Gender: Albania’s National Strategy on Migration

One of Albania’s nine Millenium Development Goals (MDGs) is to achieve higher levels of gender equality and gender empowerment. To this end, in theory, the Albanian government, in cooperation with international organisations under the umbrella of the United Nations, is endeavouring to implement gender-sensitive national policies that will address the growing inequalities between men and women in Albanian society. Yet the Albanian government is very much a product of the post-communist culture in which it operates and, as such, it tends to reflect, in its policy making activities, the kinds of gender biases that are present in every-day life in Albania.


Dushi, Arbnora. 2006. "Antonia Young and her interest about Albanian traditions." Albanian Journal of Politics II(1): 62-66.


Kajsiu, Blendi. 2006. Review of Arratisje nga lindja: orientalizmi shqiptar nga Naimi te Kadare [Escaping from the East: Albanian Orientalism from Naim Frasheri to Kadare], by Enis Sulstarova. Albanian Journal of Politics II (1): 67-71. [Download in PDF]

Pula, Besnik. 2006. Review of Arratisje nga lindja: orientalizmi shqiptar nga Naimi te Kadare [Escaping from the East: Albanian orientalism from Naim Frasheri to Kadare], by Enis Sulstarova. Albanian Journal of Politics II (1): 72-81. [Download in PDF]

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