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SCALA Anthro Brown Bag Seminar Series - “What are we to do?”: Opening potentialities and creating possibilities in contemporary Albania

Nataša Gregorič Bon, Research Associate & Assistant Professor, Institute of Anthropological and Spatial Studies, Research Centre of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts (ZRC SAZU)

24 May 2024 from 12:00 to 13:00

Sala Conferenze (3rd floor), DBC, Via degli Ariani 1, Ravenna - In presence and online event

Abstract: Accelerated extractionism, increasing emigration, gentrification, land grabbing and general political crises seem to be plunging contemporary lifeworld’s in Albania into uncertainty and mistrust. How can this gloomy present be restructured in the everyday lives of people in Albania, which is often referred to as one of the lowest income countries in Europe according to international economic assessments? While many local economists and politicians still cling to the discourse of postcommunist transition, which by definition should promise a better future and prosperity for all, inhabitants are increasingly confronted with a sense of powerlessness in their everyday lives, where alternative scenarios often seem non-existent and overdrawn with the passive attitude that is often explained with the rhetorical question ‘what are we to do’. In the midst of this passive and uncertain present, this presentation attends to specific individuals - artists, environmental and social activists - who are trying to overcome this prevailing thought matrix in order to ensure general well-being. The presentation explores the processes, plans and aspirations of these few individuals who, through their artistic projects and various social and environmental actions, juxtapose different layers of the past, restore and interpret them in the nexus of contemporary events. By engaging in sensory and affective domains, these rare individuals seek to open up a space that has the potential and capacity to restore collective commons, unlock future possibilities and improve well-being in the country.


Short bio: Nataša Gregorič Bon (she/her) is a social anthropologist with a long standing research in Albania. Her interests include spatial anthropology, movements, mobility and migrations, border dynamics, anthropology of water and environmental anthropology. She is the author of the monograph Spaces of Discordance (ZRC Publishing House, 2008), translated into Albanian and published by Morava Publishing House in 2015. She is also co-author of the monograph (Non)movement and Place-Making (ZRC Publishing House, 2013) and co-editor of the volumes Remitting, Restoring and Building Contemporary Albania (Palgrave MacMillan/Springer Books, 2021) and Moving Places (Berghahn Books, 2016). For the latter, she and co-editor Jaka Repič received the Slovenian Research Agency's award Excellent in Science. She has an editor for Anthropological Notebooks since 2023 and co-editor of the Space, Place, Time at the ZRC Publishing House since 2013. She was Departmental Visitor at the University of Canberra (Australia), Visiting Fellow at SSEES, UCL (UK) and Centre of South Eastern and European Studies (CSEES), University of Graz (Austria) and Visiting Lecturer at Aleksanteri Institute, University of Helsinki (Finland).



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