Between conflicting systems: An ordinary tragedy in now-capitalist Albania

Document Type


Publication Date



©2019 Berghahn Books. 'Business as usual' in contemporary Albania takes place between different and conflictingsystems 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'.