Of Pyramids and Dictators: Memory, Work and the Significance of Communist Heritage in Post-Socialist Albania

Francesco Iacono, Klejd L. Këlliçi


The communist regime that governed Albania between 1944 and 1991 has left considerable architectural remains. These however, are rapidly dissapearing, as a result of recent development. This paper explores the perception of the monumental heritage of the socialist regime in current day Albania. In our view, concepts of “unwanted” or “difficult” heritage used in the past to make sense of the heritage of socialist dictatorships, are not able to fully account for the specificities of the Albanian case as aspects other than trauma and pain need to be considered.
The perception of the heritage from Albania’s communist past is investigated both through a theoretical discussion, which addresses the relationship between “unwanted heritage” and phenomena of nostalgia for certain aspects of life during communism, as well as through a questionnaire targeted at a sample of the population of the capital city Tirana. As far as this last aspect is concerned, our focus has been on the most iconic communist monument in Tirana, the Pyramid, the former museum dedicated to the dictator Enver Hoxha.
In the last part of the paper, we try to make sense of the trends that emerged through the analysis of quantitative data, addressing the role of work and related forms of memory in forging the relationship between Albanians and the material remains of their recent past.


Unwanted Heritage; Difficult Heritage; Communism; Dictatorship; Albania

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.23914/ap.v5i0.66


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Copyright (c) 2017 Francesco Iacono, Klejd L. Këlliçi

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ISSN: 2171-6315

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