August 18, 2017 at 12:50 pm

Musaraj Publishes Article on ‘Pyramid Firms and Value Transformation in Postsocialist Albania’

Dr. Smoki Musaraj smiling with arms crossed and brick building behind her

Dr. Smoki Musaraj

Dr. Smoki Musaraj, Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Ohio University, authored an article in Ethnologie Française, on “Pyramid Firms and Value Transformation in Postsocialist Albania” (Ethnologie Française Vol 2: 321-330. 2017).

Abstract: Pyramid Firms and Value Transformation in Postsocialist Albania. When they collapsed in 1997, the so‑called pyramid firms (firma piramidale) in Albania swept the savings of hundreds of thousands of investors and led the country to a near civil war. This article considers how and why investors participated in these fraudulent financial schemes. More specifically, it traces how these firms mobilized kinship networks and migrant remittances at a time of massive migration abroad, following the postsocialist transformations of the early nineties. I argue that, in a time of economic instability and lack of access to financial resources, the firms constituted “thresholds of value conversion”; they mobilized different forms of wealth (kin relations, remittances, labor) and enabled (or promised) the creation of new forms of value (financial, social, and cultural).


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