Call for papers for Tirana Observatory Journal, Fall Edition Albania 30 years after: The Yoke of Transition

Three decades after the fall of one of the most Stalinist communist regimes in Central Eastern Europe that isolated Albanians for half of a century, Albania looks remarkably different. In Tirana’s main avenue where a big statue of Stalin stood you can now see NATO’s flag flying, symbolising Albania’s membership in the Western Military Alliance. Generally speaking, after the fall of communist dictatorship Albania has been marked by extraordinary political, economic and social transformations. It is clearly oriented toward the West, democracy and EU membership. As we speak, European Commission has recommended that Albania is ready to start accession negotiations with the EU.

However, despite some progress made in establishing a functioning democracy and market economy, Albania can only showcase symbolic achievements. Albania’s fragile democratic system has been detrimental to its political stability and economic development, as well as vulnerable to severe internal crises. Throughout its transition Albania has struggled to hold free and fair elections in accordance to international standards; it has introduces modern legislation in books but has been unable to implement them. In addition, there has been an alarming trend of demographic decline and brain drain. Albania has established modern media outlets though far from political interferences and professionalism.

‘Transition’ in Albanian public and political discourse is generally used to explain such gaps as far as democracy, freedom of expression and economic development is concerned. Frequently used to describe the first years of democratisation, after three decades ‘transition’ seems a very reductionist approach, not to say irrelevant to explain the present and shed light on the aspiring future of Albania.

Most patterns of Albania’s democratic transition can no longer be called transitional. Heaving weak or failing institutions, exhibiting lack of legitimacy, deep public distrust on political parties and other public institutions, crony corruption and continues political tensions can no longer be considered temporary distortions or symptoms of transition towards democracy. It is becoming increasingly evident that these phenomena are not characteristics of a ‘transitory’ period rather they have become permanent features of the Albania’s political landscape.

Objective, nonpartisan reflection and debate on the role of civil society in the democratisation process and in bridging the gap between government and citizens has been vital in mitigating transition’s painful path. However, the presence of a dynamic civil society as an ultimate outcome of societal modernisation is yet to be materialised. The progress Albania has made in the past three decades towards a functioning democracy is undoubtedly facilitated by the media. It has played a crucial role in the democratisation process just as much as it has been subject to it. This causal relationship between the media and democracy has and continues to operate in negative terms. Backsliding of Albanian democracy in the course of its transition has had a very negative impact on the freedom of media.

In the beginning of 1990s Albanians poured the streets of Tirana chanting ‘We want Albania to become like whole Europe’. Three decades on, Albania has only managed to formally open accession negations with the EU. The EU’s enlargement process has lost its pace whereas Albania has gone off track of the EU integration path due to constant internal political crisis and inability to live up to the EU’s conditionality. Key structural reforms are moving at a snail’s pace.

In this context, a comprehensive and multifaceted scholarly analysis of this rocky, prolonged transition is very much needed as this year marks the 30th anniversary of the fall of the communist dictatorship.

To this end, Albanian Institute for International Studies (AIIS) is dedicating Tirana Observatory’s fall edition to articles oriented towards nonpartisan identification and understanding of trends and patterns of Albania’s transition from totalitarianism to democracy with the aim to inform the near or mid-term future of Albania. We invite all scholars, experts and authors to put forward their proposals to be considered for publication at In-depth and Perspective Sections of Tirana Observatory (www.tiranaobservatory.com ).

Suggested topics, but not limited:

  • State and society in post-communist Albania.
  • State functionality and Rule of Law.
  • Statebuilding and democracy in post-communist Albania.
  • Future of the economy.
  • European Integration.
  • Economic transformation.
  • Capitalism and oligarchy.
  • Security issues.
  • Religious transformation.
  • Freedom of media and challenges.
  • Migration, demographic challenges.
  • Brain drain and brain gain.
  • Diaspora’s role Role of International community: A critical approach
  • Albania's international relations.
  • Proxy country and superpowers.
  • Asymmetric relations .
  • Albania’s Foreign policy in the Balkans.

Submission’s guidelines

Tirana Observatory- Foreign Policy and International Relations is a quarterly academic Journal published by Albanian Institute for International Studies (AIIS). This publication intends to provide Tirana’s perspectives on foreign policy, international relations, security issues, EU integration, democracy and economics. Tirana Observatory is open to writers, authors and experts who share our aim to promote academic excellence and expertise in International Relations and Politics.

The length of papers should be between 6000 to 8000 words including references. Tirana Observatory uses Chicago Manual of Style (Author/Date system). All articles must be written in English in order to be read by both professionals and the general public.

The deadline to send an abstract (300-400 words) is August 30.

The deadline for final submission is October 20.

Along with their submission, authors should include a short bio of their academic and/or professional work along with their affiliation. Authors are asked to ensure the authenticity and accuracy of their submitted materials. In addition, they are requested to include a statement that the content provided is entirely their original work and proper references are made. Articles can be submitted at aiis@aiis-albania.org,/info@tiranaobservatory.com . The editorial team will review your paper and contact you within five working days. Please note that articles on time-sensitive topics will be given priority.

For any query don’t hesitate to contact us via email info@tiranaobservatory.com