Lost Objects: ethnicity, consumption and gendered spaces in Macedonia
This new postdoctoral research project will focus on the local and transnational processes that have led to ethnic conflict in Macedonia among people divided along religious (orthodox Christian vs. Muslim), ethnic (Macedonian vs. Albanian), class, and gender axes. The study will document the reformulation of class, ethnicity, and gender since the constitution of independent Macedonia in 1991 when both ethnic Macedonians and ethnic Albanians experienced losses of privileges along class, ethnic, and gender lines. For Macedonians it is the disappearance of the 'working class' prevalent during the communist Yugoslav Federation that has caused loss of class privileges such as a state-sponsored, comfortable lifestyle. The unprecedented pauperisation of most of the people and the conspicuous presence of a few nouveau-riche, manifested by a conceited di splay of commodities, has changed the social and physical space between ethnic Macedonians and ethnic Albanians in contemporary Macedonia, which has, in turn, engendered strong ethnic tension. For Albanians, the presence of young college-educated Albanian women has changed the cultural fabric of the traditional Albanian family. Many newly-educated women, for instance, now earn more than the men in their households and reject traditional values such as having a collective family budget , or accepting arranged marriages with Albanian men only. Because women are still viewed as the bearers of Albanian culture, due to their reproductive (biological and social) function, fear of losing their culture and lineage has been fostered among the male Albanian elite. My project seeks to unravel how the articulation of class and gender losses affects ethnic tension in the country.
Dimova, R. 2003. Tainted Losses: ethnic conflict, consumption and gender in Macedonia. unpublished PhD Thesis, Stanford University.