The road: an ethnography of the Albanian-Greek cross-border motorway

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This article is an ethnographic study of a 29-kilometer stretch of cross-border highway located in South Albania and linking the city of Gjirokasẗer with the main checkpoint on the Albanian-Greek border. The road, its politics, and its poetics constitute an ideal point of entry for an anthropological analysis of contemporary South Albania. The physical and social construction, uses, and perceptions of this road uniquely encapsulate three phenomena that dominate social life in postsocialist South Albania: the transition to a market economy, new nationalisms, and massive emigration (mainly to Greece). Taking this cross-border road section as my main ethnographic point of reference, I suggest the fruitfulness of further discussion of the relationship between roads, narratives, and anthropology. [roads, globalization, transnationalism, development, postsocialism, materiality, Albania]. Copyright © 2010 by the American Anthropological Association.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)132-149
JournalAmerican Ethnologist
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2010

Bibliographical note



  • Albania
  • Balkan Studies
  • Eastern European Studies
  • Southeastern Europe
  • material culture
  • infrastructures


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