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Down with Politics! The Crisis of Representation in Post-Communist Albania

Written by Blendi Kajsiu, this article appeared on the second issue of Vol. 24 of the journal East European Politics and Society in May 2010.
Dissatisfaction with politics and political parties has given rise to a strong antipolitics discourse in Albania. Growing numbers feel unrepresented and see politics and politi­cal parties as the source of, rather than the solution to, the country’s problems. In this article the author argues that the crisis of representation in Albania does not result simply from the inability of political parties to represent different social groups but from their inability to articulate and constitute them politically. The two major political parties have articulated “the people” against an external threat usually represented by their political opponent. Under these conditions, different social categories such as farmers, urban, rural, rich, and poor were increasingly reduced to moments within “the people” as a whole rather than the starting point from which “the people” were consti­tuted. Therefore, the political process became both conflictual and unrepresentative of different social groups. The less representative political parties became, the more soci­ety as a whole and different groups within it defined themselves against political parties and politicians, hence the antipolitics discourse.


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