The psychology of economic transformation: The impact of the market on social institutions, status and values in a northern Albanian village

C W Lawson, D K Saltmarshe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

9 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Using data from an income-expenditure and assets survey; in-depth interviews and a focus group, the consequences of post-communist change on social relationships, economic opportunities, status assessments and values in a northern Albanian village are analysed. The thesis is that the advent of the market introduced incentives for individual-centred and household-centred economic strategising that were not fully compatible with the economic functions of the village's social institutions, several of which had only re-established their importance after the collapse of communism. It is shown that the power of the household head, while greater than under communism, is weakening as modernising western values and market influences spread. Similarly the key role of the clan in social and economic life is declining. Whereas traditionally, successful clan members would have provided other members with jobs, some members were now substituting financial aid for jobs, and hiring non-clan members they argued would work harder. It is shown that villagers have clear, consistent and accurate views on the change in successful wealth accumulation strategies consequent on transition. Interestingly, wealth is not an important determinant of status. In the post-communist era personal qualities such as intelligence, honesty, loyalty and generosity have come to the fore as key determinants of status. Also a rise in the importance of family reputation clearly reflects the move away from wider social criteria including political connection in status determination. (C) 2002 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)487-500
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Economic Psychology
Volume23
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2002

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