Washing men’s feet: gender, care and migration in Albania during and after communism

King, Russell and Vullnetari, Julie (2016) Washing men’s feet: gender, care and migration in Albania during and after communism. Gender, Place and Culture, 23 (6). pp. 198-215. ISSN 0966-369X

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This article compares the interrelationships between gender, family structures and intra-family care arrangements during two markedly different periods of Albania's recent history. The first of these, the communist era, was dominated by the autocratic state-socialist regime of Enver Hoxha. In contrast, the post-communist period that followed was characterised by a kind of reactive free-for-all capitalism and high rates of both internal and international migration, the latter mostly to Greece and Italy. Families have been torn apart by this mass emigration, resulting in husbands separated from their wives and children, and older generations left behind by their migrant children. All this contrasts with family, residential and care arrangements during the communist period when not only were families generally living in close proximity, but also state welfare was available to support vulnerable and isolated individuals. Across these periods, however, the burden of care responsibilities fell almost wholly on women, despite the egalitarian ideology of the socialist era and the potentially modernising and empowering effects of post-socialist migration on the agency of women. The article provides a valuable lesson in historicising regimes of gender, family and care across dramatically contrasting social models.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Global Studies > Geography
Subjects: J Political Science > JV Colonies and colonisation. Emigration and immigration. International migration > JV6001 Emigration and immigration. International migration
Depositing User: Jayne Paulin
Date Deposited: 19 Jan 2015 14:16
Last Modified: 01 Aug 2019 15:42
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/52241
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Project NameSussex Project NumberFunderFunder Ref
Everyday life in communist Albania: work, family, gender, leisure.G0419LEVERHULME TRUSTF/00 230/AM