By Stephanie Schwandner-Sievers, Bernd J. Fischer
''... a pioneering attempt in English-language reports on Albania.'' -- Nicholas C. Pano
Albanian historical past is permeated through myths and legendary narratives that frequently serve political reasons, from the depiction of the mythical ''founder of the nation,'' Skanderbeg, to the exploits of the KLA within the contemporary Kosovo battle. The essays in Albanian Identities, by means of a multinational, multidisciplinary crew of students and non-academic experts, deconstruct wide-spread political or historiographical myths approximately Albania's prior and current, bringing to mild the ways that Albanian myths have served to justify and direct violence, buttress political strength, and foster inner unity. Albanian Identities demonstrates the ability of myths to at the present time, as they underpin political and social strategies in crisis-ridden, post-totalitarian Albania.
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Additional resources for Albanian Identities: Myth and History
What links these people together is their reference to a common historical past, as well as their kinship system, which ensures that some of the ancient groupings are reproduced. Fundamental aspects of Merina social organisation The social division coming from the past that is probably still most relevant to them is that between the descendants of freemen and those of slaves. The descendants of freemen do not usually intermarry with the descendants of slaves. This has great significance in that since richer Merina are mainly of free descent, so the marriage barrier reproduces in terms of wealth the difference in precolonial status.
In a belated effort to keep a balance between France and Britain, the Merina government, in spite of its official Protestantism, never totally turned its back on Catholicism because it believed, not altogether accurately, that the French were backing the Catholics and the British were backing the Protestants. Quite apart from this there were also a certain number of free Merina, who for various reasons favoured Catholicism even after the queen's conversion. Often this was a means of expressing some sort of very limited dissent.
These poor people realised their class situation and to a certain degree realised their common interest with the non-Merina peoples of Madagascar, who with a few notable exceptions, had similarly become poorer and more humiliated during the colonial period. The class structure of Madagascar during the colonial period did not therefore correspond with the division between Merina and non-Merina or with the division between Protestant and non-Protestant, but the situation did have a loose correlation with the division between Protestants and non-Protestants in that Protestantism had been associated with high status in the Merina kingdom and this initial advantage had been transformed and expanded in the new situation.
Albanian Identities: Myth and History by Stephanie Schwandner-Sievers, Bernd J. Fischer