The Transformation of the Countryside in Communist Albania
In this historical monograph on non-urban communist Albania, Artan Hoxha discusses the ambitious development project that turned a swampland into a site of sugar production after 1945. The author seeks to free the history of Albanian communism from the stereotypes that still circulate about it with stigmas of an aberration, paranoia, extreme nationalism, and xenophobia.
This micro-history of the agricultural and industrial transformation of a zone in southeastern Albania, explores a wide range of issues including modernization, development, and social, cultural, and economic policies. In addition to analyzing the collectivization of agriculture, Hoxha shows how communism affected the lives of ordinary rural people. As elsewhere in the Communist Bloc, the Albanian regime borrowed developmental projects from the past and implemented them using social mobilization and a command economy. The abundant archival resources along with interviews in the field attest to the authorities' efforts to increase consumption and to radically transform people's tastes. But the book argues that despite the repressive environment, people involved in the sugar project were not simply passive receivers of models from the nation's capital. The author also describes that—in defiance of Cold War bipolarity—technological requirements and social policy considerations required a degree of engagement with the broader world.
About the Author
"Sugarland offers a substantial and original contribution to the fields of Albanian and East European history and beyond. It brings a unique cultural history of a commodity—in this case sugar beets, and a micro-history of a region (Maliq plain) as a way of asking and answering questions that touch on a wide range of issues about modernization, development, and communist transformation. The work offers poignant, philosophical moments for pondering the past as it lays before us now—it's detritus and rubble. Hoxha's book is groundbreaking, original, and a joy to read."—Mary Neuburger
Other Titles in HISTORY / Europe / Eastern
Other Titles in European history