Domesticating the transition: appropriating interiors in postsocialist Gjirokastër

  • Gen Fujii University College London
Keywords: transition, interior, continuity, value-shift, (re)appropriation


In Gjirokastër of southern Albania, the current socio-economic situation is often described by the local inhabitants as a transition to western-style capitalism. This contrasts with the discourse refuting transitology in regards to postsocialist1 societies argued by many scholars (Burawoy and Verdery 1999; Hann 2002; Humphrey 2002; Pelkmans 2003, 2006; Verdery 1991, 1999). Based on ethnographic material collected between 2005 and 2006, this article investigates whether such a claim by scholars should dismiss the heuristic statement voiced by local people about the ways in which domestic objects shift in values and meanings inside people’s homes. Inspired by Arjun Appadurai’s (1986) notion of a ‘regime of value’ and Alfred Gell’s (1996; 1998) theory of the ‘social agency of things’, the focus is placed upon the appropriation of a sense of temporality in material cultures inside postsocialist homes in Gjirokastër.