Post-socialist city development in Tirana

Julie Abitz

Studenteropgave: Speciale


#Abstract This thesis surveys how city development is contested in post-socialist Tirana, Albania. It explores how different actors contest city development in Tirana and how the concept of community informs their work. Furthermore, this study explores how socialist city development informs post-socialistic city development. Contestations in post-socialist city development are studied through a theoretical framework formed by a combination of two theoretical approaches: A discursive governmentality theory by the sociologist Nikolas Rose, and a theory of social practice in the political field by the sociologist Pierre Bourdieu. Previously, articles and texts on post-socialist city development offer a limited starting point from which to analyse contestations in city development. Therefore, to analyse contestations between practicing actors involved in city development, the research localises the rationalities, techniques and the produced social and physical patterns which are created through socialist city development. To examine how and which actors emerge in post-socialist city development, the above perspective is supplemented with Bourdieu’s theory of the political field. This is finally combined in a situated case study, where the positioning between different actors is examined along with the question of how some rationalities of city development become more legitimate than others. Methodologically, the thesis takes as its empirical basis four methods: Qualitative interviews, participant observations, a case study and historical documents. Through employment of these methods, the thesis reveals how city development is articulated and practised among the central actors of city development in Tirana. The thesis concludes that legacies of socialist city development are present in post-socialist city development and that governmental techniques of socialist urban planning like the yellow line and voluntary work are re-emerging as important. In contestations to the placing of a casino, it is also evident that the state is still the dominant actor, and even the civil society organisations challenging the state in the political field, reinforce the state as the actor with the ultimate responsibility to create proper conditions for the citizens through city planning. The paradox for the position of civil society organisations on the opposing side is that they try to be more moral than the state representative. By entering in urban politics they though exhibit how fighting can lead your competitors into condemning you for having extra-territorial allegiances, and delegitimizing you as corrupt and unrepresentative of the citizens.

UddannelserInternationale Udviklingsstudier, (Bachelor/kandidatuddannelse) Kandidat
Udgivelsesdato1 jan. 2006


  • City development
  • Tirana
  • Pierre Bourdieu
  • Nikolas Rose
  • post-socialist
  • Albania