Periodic Reporting for period 1 - CHODIA (Cultural Heritage of Dictatorship in Albania)
Período documentado: 2016-10-17 hasta 2018-10-16
Some two billion people (about a third of the overall world population) live in a country that either was, or still is communist. The influence of former and current communist regimes on geopolitical history, culture, lifestyle and more is certainly immense. These regimes represent (or have represented) catalysing moments for the inhabitants of countries that experience them. Attitudes towards the communist dictatorial pasts have varied and, excluding a few notable exceptions, their remains have only recently started to be considered part of traditional notions of heritage. The importance of the cultural heritage of dictatorship is increasingly beginning to be claimed for a variety of reasons within and beyond individual states. In recent decades, the questions raised by such trends have not escaped heritage specialists, and notions of dissonant, unwanted and difficult heritage have emerged to make sense of these situations. UNESCO is also gradually realising the importance of this process and has de facto extended its definitions to also comprise forms of unwanted/‘difficult’ heritage. The specific issues engendered by the cultural heritage of communist dictatorships, in former eastern bloc states, have started to be openly discussed in a number of countries from both heritage and tourism specialists. Building on a number of previous more specialised projects, the research has been the very first attempt at drawing a country-wide perspective on the perception of cultural heritage from the dictatorship period in a modern post-socialist state.
The overall objectives of the project include the assessment of three broad research themes. The first one relates to the what the tangible cultural heritage of the dictatorship period in Albania is. The second dealt with the way the intangible inheritance of communism is, while the third investigates the political uses of such a heritage.
The results achieved indicate that heritage of communism is several different things for Albanians. Also, the perception of the significance of these various things is rather complex. While certain aspects are certainly unwanted (either because of the association with persecution and suppression of human rights during the regime, or simply because they conflict with what are perceived as the values of western modernity), other are sometimes openly longed. Aspects such as age or social background do play a considerable role in the way the communist past and its heritage is perceived by Albanians as do regional differences within Albania. In terms of general logic, this material and immaterial legacy of the regime is employed in the political arena by various (particularly institutional) actors, in ways that sometimes, somewhat surprisingly, are not too distant from those used during communism.
The results of the project are being disseminated through traditional scientific means (peer-reviewed articles in journals, books as well as conferences appositely organised on this theme and their proceedings) as well as through the web (through a website), speeches/workshops for non-academic audiences (broader public and heritage/museum professionals alike) and other side projects commenced by the fellow in collaboration with local heritage professionals.