Politics, Power, and "Light Music": The Cultural Production of Albanian Identities, 1962-Present


Dissertation Fellowships in East European Studies




“Light music,” a cosmopolitan popular music genre, became a privileged mode for the inculcation of values in state-socialist Albania (1945-1992). This was one way that a centralized cultural bureaucracy positioned producers and listeners, but these forms also provided ways for individuals to position themselves vis-a-vis the state. The production and consumption of light music today demonstrate the shifting contours of postsocialist possibilities. This project investigates Radio-Television Albania's annual Festival of Song, highlighting the continuities and disjunctures in Albanians' lived experiences of socialism and "transition." It describes both "actually existing socialism" and "democracy" in Albania through an emphasis on identities between state-socialism and postsocialism.