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Catapulted from totalitarianism to free market capitalism in 1991, Albania emerged from half a century of isolation to find itself an anomaly in Europe: a third world country economically and infra-structurally, first world in terms of education, literature and the arts. This portrait of Albaniaa€™s a€˜transitiona€™ is based on the experiences of a diverse range of families a€“ highland villagers, urban elite, shanty dwellers - whose lives the anthropologist author has followed closely since 1992. Village life is conveyed in vivid detail. The villagers deal with the grinding poverty of village life with humour, charm and reslience. Rural life, despite concerted attempts by the communist regime to eradicate a€˜backwardnessa€™, is still pervaded by the archaic world of customary law, a system whose influence spans dispute settlement, forest rights, marriage arrangement and blood-feuds. In the capital, Tirana, members of the former communist elite are courted by innumerable missionary groups andThe immediate cause of the initial riots was the collapse of two of the biggest pyramid schemes based in the south. Large numbers of Albanians (as well as some foreigners) had put money into the schemes and many lost everything, includinganbsp;...

Author:Clarissa De Waal
Publisher:I.B.Tauris - 2005-06-24


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