November 15, 2019 at 8:43 am

Rosen Tells Tale of Successful Booksellers to Illustrate Conflict in Capitalist Albania

Dr. Matthew Rosen, portraitand trees behind him

Dr. Matthew Rosen

Dr. Matthew Rosen authored an article on “Between Conflicting Systems: An Ordinary Tragedy in Now-Capitalist Albania” in the Anthropological Journal of European Cultures.

Rosen is Assistant Professor of Anthropology in the College of Arts & Sciences at Ohio University.

In the article, Rosen analyzes the case of two booksellers who transformed a “financially precarious business” into a “vibrant cultural institution,” only to see their rent rise to the point that they were “literally locked out of the institution they had done so much to create.”

Abstract: “Business as usual” in contemporary Albania takes place between different and conflicting systems of meaning and value. Drawing from ethnographic material collected in Tirana, Albania, this article examines the complexities of social and economic life in a city where distinct moral economies routinely clash with the capitalist principle of profit. Starting from the ethnographic impulse to learn how two local booksellers made sense of the contradictory systems of meaning operating in their everyday lives, the analysis shows how a grinding of discordant value systems produced the more general paradox of an “ordinary tragedy.”

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