Further to this review someone might want to slighlty agree with the observations of the author of this book. The Albanian society has naturally many social problems as there are social problems in every society within the West or outside it. Referring to the observation of the author on the lack of politness: Totally agree with that. Albanian like to ask questions and in some cases they just ask questions for the sake of the being to be seen able to converse with other people. Some of the questions asked, perhaps come across as inappropriate and very personal.
Because Albanian society has and still is a society where thinking has not been encouraged. It is a society where the majority of the population are being told what to do almost in every aspect of their life. Albanians have had authoritarian leaders and as a consequence people have been under a constant pressure from an autocratic state. The social pressures are not far off where easily an westerner will notice the very narrow minded to everything. The life in the families is a good example of state pressures. The wife, mothers and sisters try to please the male in the family. Why Albanian women feel the need to make the husbands, fathers and brothers happy?The time has come to think of being independent and get rid of male domination which does not allow women to show their potential and have a more developed society!
The women in Albania for centuries have not even ever considered to get an education! A society where the education is not even ever considered would surely will have people which, lack politness, lack of understanding beyond the walls of thier house and a complete lack of interacting with other people and understanding other peoples’ problems. The women have the most important task in every society. If we ascertain the fact that, they lack politness, empathy and do not understand social responsibilties within their community then the question would be, what would be like the next generation?
The women in Albania think and they are convinced they are the best mothers in the whole world. And they are, that, to a degree. A wife in Albania for centuries and in high percenatge number of the modern times does everything around the house. They generally get not a lot of support from their husbands or any male in the house. Their mothers had had the same experience and this unhappy experience it will be passed onto new generations. The majority of Albanian women are convinced and happy that they have discharged their duty on bringing up children by feeding, cleaning and sending them to school. In Albanian families there is a tradition of male domination and lack of communications amongst members of the family. There are good qualities which parents would like to be kept such as hospitality and showing respect for the eldest in the family but there is so much more to be done ! What majority of Albanian families, should be doing more is, should be talking to their children about everything that would assist them in their adult life. Give your children a good guidance!
Umberto Eco says : Italians are not people that read or do culture all the time. This might be seen as an accurate statement. He continues by saying: you go to London and a few cities in the other in the Western World and people read all the time. An intelectual westerner like him would notice the same in Albania. You don’t see a lot of people reading on a bus or waiting at the bus station or in any in the coffe shops at all. Better educated people it will obviously will result on well mannered people and being sympathetik to other people’s feelings or their problems.Eventually every member of the society it will take some social responisbility to have a better understanding of their surroundings.
Albanians are argumentative
This statement should be seen as an accurate interpretation of their behaviour from an westerns point of view. It would be better if this statement would be paraphrased like this: They may be argumentative but, inadvertently. They all want to make a point when involved in a debate and to a westerner that, is rude. They are argumentative as they generally don’t stick to the core of the debate or issue and, they like to bring trivial things in which perhaps are irrelevant to the problem.
Women in Modern Albania: Firsthand Accounts of Culture and Conditions from Over 200 Interviews Date posted: Tuesday, August 3, 2004
Author: Susan E. Pritchett Post
Reviewed by Melissa J. Perry, Harvard University
Women in Modern Albania presents interviews with over 200 women born in Albania during this century. The interviews are divided into three broad age groups of Older, Middle and Younger generations, loosely based on the political climate of the era in which they were born. Women from a broad range of education, life experience and geography in Albania are represented among the interviews which is a major feature of the book. A commendable feature of the collection of interviews is the common theme of Albanian women’s characteristic strength and resilience. However, several aspects of the book remain troubling. Especially problematic was the author’s inclusion of her personal impressions of Albanian people upon arriving in Albania. Numerous generalizations about the nature, temperament and behavior of Albanians were insulting and evidenced a lack of respect for non-Western culture. The description of how some Albanians interact with foreigners is illustrative: “The ignorance of some people extends to their dealings with others on a social level as well. Foreigners frequently find questions they are asked as guests to be overly direct and personal, lacking in tact and politeness. However, Albanians themselves do not themselves respond well to direct questioning. They have a million responses to such questions that range from a sudden lack of understanding of whatever language you are speaking to answering with irrelevant information or ignoring you.” (p.40)
Among other generalities that were cast upon Albanians was their argumentativeness:
“Albanians are highly critical and unwilling to accept the good part of something if they find other parts to be faulty. This critical nature results in one of the most immediately noticeable characteristics of the Albanians: their arguementativeness.” (p.43)
Upon reflection, the author decides to transform her judgements into forgiveness for the “offensive” behaviors of the Albanian people as reflected in the concluding paragraph in Chapter 2 of Part I, “The Albanians as I Found Them“: “My first attempts to understand the most negative of these behaviors led to my hypothesis that if you treat people like animals for long enough they will begin to act like animals. As time has passed, however, I have seen more directly the poverty of the people, experienced living in the conditions in which they live, and heard the stories of the women of the challenges they have faced in their lifetimes. So I have developed an understanding and acceptance of these behaviors and have learned to look past them to the people and their spirit.” (p.43)
Western ethnocentrism and a lack of cultural respect reverberates in these and other reflections by the author, particularly in this chapter. Had the author chosen an anthropologic/ethnographic approach to study the lives of Albanian women, one would not be concerned that such Western biases were subsequently infused into the women’s interviews. The non-verbatim transcriptions, which lack in idiomatic or colloquial expression, suggest that the author’s interpretations and perspectives were present in the retelling of each story. If this is so, then the book is not an accurate representation of Albanian women’s lives, but rather one American woman’s interpretation of Albanian women.