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The Local Spaces of Statebuilding: The Case of Albania (1920–1939) *

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  04 April 2017

Nathalie Clayer*
Affiliation:
CNRS-EHESS

Abstract

Drawing on studies that envisage the local as a site where nation-state building and the affirmation of sovereignty are produced rather than simply reproduced, this article proposes to shift the focus to the local level. By exploring the case of school policies in interwar Albania, at the very heart of the assertion of the new state’s sovereignty, it studies the control of local space as the locus of these processes. More specifically, it focuses on the power relations surrounding the role of religion in school space, state appropriation of school buildings structuring religious spaces, and the effect of the inscription of actors involved in these negotiations—be they agents of these policies or not—into social spaces.

Type
Sovereignty and Territory in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries
Copyright
Copyright © Les Éditions de l’EHESS 2014

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Footnotes

*

I would like to thank Nicolas Barreyre, Geneviève Verdo, Emmanuel Szurek, Alexandre Popovic, Cilia Martin, Marie Bossaert, and Fabio Giomi for their careful reading and helpful remarks on earlier versions of this text.

References

1. Arkivi Qendror i Shtetit (Central State Archives, Tirana, hereafter “AQSh”), collection 195 (Ministry of Instruction), year 1922, file 18, fol. 3, the minister of instruction to the prime minister, June 12, 1922.

2. I have been working on a study of this subject between 1918 and 1939 for several years. This work is based most notably on research carried out in the Albanian state archives, where the archives of religious institutions are kept, along with the archives of the different institutions that intervened in the day-to-day management of this issue (Ministry of Instruction, Ministry of Justice, Ministry of the Interior, police stations, administrative centers, etc.).

3. While the north/south dimension of the territorialization of school policies was closely linked to the spatially determined religious school networks, in its management of the relationships between schools and religion the Albanian administration also viewed the territory according to another dynamic: the distinction between urban and rural. This distinction was the result of a global vision of the Albanian territory and its population as divided up into villages, on the one hand, and cities, on the other.

4. See for example Öktem, Kerem, “Incorporating the Time and Space of the Ethnic ‘Other’: Nationalism and Space in Southeast Turkey in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries,” Nations and Nationalism 10, no. 4 (2004): 559–78 CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

5. Noiriel, Gérard, État, nation et immigration. Vers une histoire du pouvoir (Paris: Belin, 2001), 125 ff Google Scholar; Miard-Delacroix, Hélène, Garner, Guillaume, and von Hirschhausen, Béatrice, eds., Espaces de pouvoir, espaces d’autonomie en Allemagne (Villeneuve-d’Ascq: Presses universitaires du Septentrion, 2010), 9–32 Google Scholar.

6. For more details see Clayer, Nathalie, Aux origines du nationalisme albanais. La naissance d’une nation majoritairement musulmane en Europe (Paris: Karthala, 2007)Google Scholar.

7. On this period, see: Fischer, Bernd Jürgen, King Zog and the Struggle for Stability in Albania (New York: Columbia University Press, 1984)Google Scholar; Schmidt-Neke, Michael, Entstehung und Ausbau der Königsdiktatur in Albanien, 1912–1939. Regierungsbildungen, Herrschaftsweise und Machteliten in einem jungen Balkanstaat (Munich: R. Oldenbourg, 1987)Google Scholar; Roberto Morozzo\della Rocca, , Nazione e religione in Albania, 1920–1944 (Bologna: Il Mulino, 1990)Google Scholar; Dervishi, Kastriot, Historia e shtetit shqiptar, 1912–2005. Organizimi shtetëror, jeta politike, ngjarjet kryesore, të gjithë ligjëvënësit ministrat dhe kryetarët e shtetit shqiptar (Tirana: Shtepia Botuese 55, 2006)Google Scholar; Puto, Arben, Shqipëria politike, 1912–1939 (Tirana: Botimet Toena, 2009)Google Scholar; and the testimony of Vllamasi, Sejfi, Ballafaqime politike në Shqipëri, 1897– 1942. Kujtime dhe vlerësime historike (Tirana: Shtepia Botuese Marin Barleti, 1995)Google Scholar.

8. The word used is afetar, literally meaning “a-religious.” By laïcisation, following Jean Baubérot, I mean a process (different from that of sécularisation ) that “has to do with the role and the place of religion in the institutional field,” and which tends to disassociate the political field as a body wielding power from the religious field as a body wielding authority. See Baubérot, , “Laïcité/laïcisation,” in Dictionnaire des faits religieux, ed. Azria, Régine and Hervieu-Léger, Danièle (Paris: PUF, 2010), 620–23 Google Scholar. [This usage of the term has no direct equivalent in English.—Les Annales.]

9. On this subject, see Clayer, Nathalie, “Frontière politique, frontière ethnique et État- nation. L’exemple de la région-frontière albano-grecque dans l’entre-deux-guerres,” in “Meje v jugovzhodni Evropi. Kultura in politika od XVIII. do XXI. Stoletja/Borders in Southeastern Europe: Culture and Politics between the 18th and 21st Century,” ed. Nec´ak, Dusˇan, special issue, Historia 7 (2004): 159–76 Google Scholar; Clayer, , “L’albanisation de la zone frontière albano-grecque et ses aléas dans l’entre-deux-guerres,” Südost-Forschungen 68 (2010): 328–48 Google Scholar. See also, despite their limitations: Gogaj, Iljaz, Mbi qendrimin reaksionar të klerit në Fushën e arësimit (1878–1939) (Tirana: Instituti i studimeve pedagogjike, 1972)Google Scholar; Morozzo della Rocca, Nazione e religione in Albani; Peters, Markus W. E., Geschichte der Katholischen Kirche in Albanien, 1919–1993 (Wiesbaden: O. Harrassowitz, 2003)Google Scholar.

10. Clayer, Nathalie, “Adapting Islam to Europe: The Albanian Example,” in Islam und Muslime in (Südost) Europa im Kontext von Transformation und EU-Erweiterung, ed. Voss, Christian and Telbizova-Sack, Jordanka (Munich/Berlin: Verlag Otto Sagner, 2010), 53–69 Google Scholar.

11. Along the western edge of the Ottoman possessions in the Balkans, Orthodox Christian community schools and Catholic mission schools (Franciscan and Jesuit) had multiplied during the nineteenth century: Clayer, Aux origines du nationalisme albanais, 73, 101, and 114–15. Moreover, their success had prompted the Ottoman authorities to reform their own school networks. Alongside medrese, or Islamic schools, new schools, with a new curriculum, had been founded that were open in theory to all Ottoman subjects. In reality, the Ottoman schools (ibtidaiye, rüs¸diye, idadiye, sultaniye) mostly enroled Muslims. Yet confessional diversity was not entirely absent: some upper-class Muslims could be found in Christian mission schools; a few Muslims went to learn to read in Orthodox schools; and there were Christians in the Ottoman secondary schools. In some cities, there also existed private schools that could be mixed, but this diversity remained limited. See Somel, Selçuk Aks¸ın, The Modernization of Public Education in the Ottoman Empire, 1839–1908: Islamization, Autocracy, and Discipline (Leiden: Brill, 2001)Google Scholar; Fortna, Benjamin C., Imperial Classroom: Islam, the State, and Education in the Late Ottoman Empire (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002)Google Scholar.

12. See the example of the priest of Koman, who followed an order supposedly given by the bishops: AQSh, collection 149 (office of the prime minister), year 1926, file, IV-152, fol. 8, the subprefect of Pukë to the secret office of the Ministry of the Interior, July 18, 1926; ibid., fol. 9, the priest of Koman, undated; ibid., fols. 10–11, the prime minister to the Ministry of Justice with a copy to the minister of the interior, November 19, 1926.

13. AQSh, collection 882 (Muslim community), year 1929, file 98, fol. 58, the prefect of Korçë to the principal of school no. 1, October 23, 1929; ibid., fol. 59, the village leader and mayor of Zëmblak to the main mufti of Korçë, October 25, 1929.

14. In reality, segregation was probably not total in these neighborhoods, nor in the other cities in Ottoman space.

15. AQSh, collection 195 (Ministry of Instruction), year 1923, file 59, fols. 2–3, the Ministry of the Interior to the Ministry of Instruction, July 11, 1923.

16. See the list of villages, with the composition of their population in 1927, in Selenica, Teki, Shqipria më 1927 (Tirana: Shtypshkronja “Tirana,” 1928) 496 Google Scholarff. In the country’s very few secondary schools, on the contrary, religious diversity was the rule, except in Shkodër where Catholic schools attracted mainly Catholic students and state schools mainly Muslim students, which resulted in limited diversity: AQSh, collection 346 (prefecture of Shkodër), year 1925, file 165, fols. 4–5, Mirash Ivanaj, director of the state high school, to the prefecture, September 5, 1925.

17. The notion of “behavior” was used constantly by Albanian leaders of the period to evaluate civil servants and other actors in terms of their professional aptitude and the way their work was carried out, but especially their political conduct: loyalty toward the sovereign, patriotic feelings, use of the official language, etc.

18. AQSh, collection 195 (Ministry of Instruction), year 1934, file 180, fol. 102, the vice-prefect of Shkodër to the minister of instruction, December 19, 1934; ibid., fol. 103, Musa Juka, minister of the interior, to the minister of instruction, December 28, 1934.

19. AQSh, collection 149 (office of the prime minister), year 1930, file IV-257, fols. 1–3, the minister of instruction to the president of the Council of Ministers, September 15, 1930; ibid., fol. 7, decision of the Council of Ministers no. 789, September 20, 1930. The arguments put forward by the Ministry of Instruction were slightly different because they were based on the fact that these classes had already ceased to exist in the primary schools of the prefectures of Gjirokastër and Korçë and that they were expensive for the ministry. It may be noted that the term “element” is the one used in the empire after the Young Turk Revolution to designate the different groups that needed to be united.

20. AQSh, collection 149 (office of the prime minister), year 1930, file IV-257, fols. 14– 15, the minister of instruction to the prime minister, September 24, 1930. The Islamic institutions used the fact that in this first reaction from the ministry, it was said that the classes would not be simply cancelled.

21. AQSh, collection 195 (Ministry of Instruction), year 1930, file 33, fol. 16, circular letter no. 5425. After the nationalization of schools in April 1933 this circular letter was completed by another, specifying that this instruction would be given once or twice a week, “which would not limit the freedom of religious instruction, as is the case in the other civilized countries”: AQSh, collection 150 (Ministry of the Royal Court), year 1934, file IV-116.

22. AQSh, collection 195 (Ministry of Instruction), year 1930, file 33, fol. 19, circular letter no. 2621/9, from Hilë Mosi, minister of instruction.

23. This was the case for the town of Shkodër: AQSh, collection 152 (Ministry of the Interior), year 1931, file 160.

24. AQSh, collection 882 (Muslim institutions), year 1930, file 104, fol. 170, the permanent council of the Muslim community, decision no. 22, February 2, 1931. At the same time, the Muslim religious authorities asked their local representatives to use mosques as a temporary measure. The offices of the muftis also appealed financially to the central authorities of the Muslim community in order to rent buildings, especially when there was no mosque. But their requests were dismissed and they had to turn to the local populations to find free premises for religious instruction.

25. AQSh, collection 195 (Ministry of Instruction), year 1930, file 33, fol. 13, the minister of instruction, circular letter of October 5, 1930; ibid., fol. 20, circular letter no. 4191/1, November 10, 1930; ibid., fol. 48, the director of the Delvinë school to the minister of instruction, November 24, 1930.

26. AQSh, collection 882 (Muslim institutions), year 1934, file 79, fol. 1, the leader of the Muslim community to the mufti of Berat, June 11, 1934.

27. Religious instruction was resumed for political reasons. After the onset of the Spanish Civil War, the king feared Communist opposition. He probably also wanted to block competition from the networks of private Catholic and Greek schools. In the case of this last group, there was another motive, namely the growing discontent of Orthodox Christians who no longer wished to support the Albanian Autocephalous Church because of its leadership, which they deemed incompetent and illegitimate.

28. AQSh, collection 152 (Ministry of the Interior), year 1937, file 10, fol. 3, the minister of instruction to the minister of the interior, October 6, 1937.

29. AQSh, collection 152 (Ministry of the Interior), year 1937, file 10; collection 195 (Ministry of Instruction), year 1937, file 147.

30. AQSh, collection 152 (Ministry of the Interior), year 1937, file 10, fols. 31–32, the prefect of Shkodër to the minister of instruction, Shkodër, December 15, 1937.

31. AQSh, collection 195 (Ministry of Instruction), year 1939, file 331; collection 346 (prefecture of Shkodër), year 1938, file 222; collection 195 (Ministry of Instruction), year 1938, file 94.

32. Catholic confessional schools continued to function as such, most notably in Shkodër.

33. AQSh, collection 882 (Muslim institutions), year 1922, file 52, fol. 68, minister of the interior, Ahmet Zogu, circular letter to the prefectures, July 9, 1922.

34. AQSh, collection 195 (Ministry of Instruction), year 1924, file 89, fol. 1, the inspector of instruction to the Ministry of Instruction, Tirana, September 9, 1924.

35. Selenica, Shqipria më 1927, 532, and 537.

36. AQSh, collection 155 (Ministry of Justice), year 1926, file VIII-55, fol. 32, the minister of instruction to the minister of justice, October 19, 1926 (passed on to the high council of the Sharia); ibid., fol. 34, the director general of instruction to the minister of justice, November 10, 1926.

37. AQSh, collection 155 (Ministry of Justice), year 1924, file VIII-588, fol. 1, the prime minister, Ahmet Zogu, to the minister of justice, January 29, 1924; ibid., fol. 2, the minister of the interior to the prime minister, January 16, 1926.

38. AQSh, collection 149 (office of the prime minister), year 1930, file IV-257, fol. 28, decision of the Council of Ministers no. 819, September 26, 1930. [The word “township” (commune in French) corresponds to an administrative level created in 1929 that included several villages.—Les Annales. ]

39. AQSh, collection 149 (office of the prime minister), year 1930, file IV-257, fol. 32, the minister of justice to the prime minister, December 28, 1930.

40. As with confessional schools during the Ottoman period, the building of state schools often continued to be financed by the local population.

41. AQSh, collection 155 (Ministry of Justice), year 1932, file VIII-221, fol. 60, the minister of instruction to the minister of justice, March 9, 1932.

42. AQSh, collection 155 (Ministry of Justice), year 1932, file VIII-221, fols. 70–72, the minister of instruction to the Elbasan prefecture, October 26, 1932 (with a copy to the Ministry of Justice); ibid., fol. 73, the head of the Orthodox Church to the Ministry of Justice, November 1, 1932 (the ministry replied that the building had been built by the local community for the purpose of teaching religion and not for public teaching).

43. AQSh, collection 155 (Ministry of Justice), year 1931, file VIII-181, fols. 1–7. Vissarion Xhuvani was forced to bring up the issue with the government on several different occasions, especially since the church had to find premises for religious instruction. He insisted on the fact that while appropriation by the civil authorities had been justified in 1922 when there was not yet an Autocephalous Church and some Orthodox Christians opposed the government, this was no longer the case at the beginning of the 1930s, when the Autocephalous Church had become a corporate body, was trying to structure itself, and needed to ensure the religious instruction that no longer took place in state schools. He pointed out what he viewed as the unequal treatment of the Orthodox Church compared to the Catholic Church, from which no buildings were confiscated, and to the Muslim community, with which compromises had been made. Above all, he maintained that confiscating buildings from the Orthodox communities went against article 46 of the statutes of the church and against the law concerning religious communities, since the benefactors of these buildings would have specifically meant them to be Orthodox schools: AQSh, collection 155 (Ministry of Justice), year 1932, file VIII-221, fols. 57–58, Vissarion to the Ministry of Justice, March 4, 1932; ibid., fol. 68, October 21, 1932, and fol. 69, October 24, 1932.

44. AQSh, collection 155 (Ministry of Justice), year 1932, file VIII-221, fols. 57–58, Vissarion to the Ministry of Justice, March 4, 1932.

45. AQSh, collection 152 (Ministry of the Interior), year 1936, file 317, fol. 5, the prefect of Korçë, Ismet Kryeziu, to the secret office of the Ministry of the Interior, March 23, 1936.

46. AQSh, collection 152 (Ministry of the Interior), year 1936, file 318, the prefect of Korçë, Ismet Kryeziu, to the secret office of the Ministry of the Interior, April 28, 1936; ibid., fol. 32, the Ministry of Instruction to the Ministry of the Interior, May 2, 1936 (indicating that it had no knowledge of such an agreement).

47. AQSh, collection 152 (Ministry of the Interior), year 1936, file 752, fol. 1, the Ministry of Justice to the Ministry of the Interior, November 30, 1936; ibid., fol. 2, the leadership of the Autocephalous Church to the Ministry of Justice, November 26, 1936.

48. AQSh, collections 152 (Ministry of the Interior), year 1937, file 144, fols. 1–2, the gendarmerie of Korçë to the gendarmerie of Tirana, August 13, 1937; ibid., fol. 3, the secret office of the Ministry of the Interior to the prefecture of Korçë, August 14, 1937; ibid., fol. 4, the prefect of Korçë, Veli Vasjari, to the secret office of the Ministry of the Interior, September 6, 1937.

49. AQSh, collection 346 (prefecture of Shkodër), year 1938, file 218, fol. 1, the main mufti of Shkodër to the prefecture, February 28, 1938.

50. AQSh, collection 346 (prefecture of Shkodër), year 1938, file 218, fol. 2, the subprefect of Koplik to the prefect, March 24, 1938.

51. This “internment” corresponds to an internal exile and should be seen as parallel to the Ottoman practice of sürgün (exile).

52. AQSh, collection 152 (Ministry of the Interior), year 1934, file 165, fol. 15, the prefect of Korçë to the secret office of the Ministry of the Interior, May 30, 1934.

53. AQSh, collection 155 (Ministry of Justice), year 1932, file VIII-210, fol. 50, the prefect of Gjirokastër to the secret office of the Ministry of the Interior, July 29, 1932.

54. AQSh, collection 152 (Ministry of the Interior), year 1936, file 317, fol. 5, the prefect of Korçë to the secret office of the Ministry of the Interior, March 23, 1936.

55. This remark is interesting because it indicates that in the case of Orthodox Christians, school authorities were prepared to make state schools into places for the “Albani-zation” of Orthodox religion, thus renouncing the total laïcisation of school space.

56. AQSh, collection 155 (Ministry of Justice), year 1928, file VIII-67, fols. 14–15, the subprefect of Bilisht, A. Hoxha, to the prefecture at Korçë, May 2, 1928.

57. Social space corresponds to the interweaving of places and of social relationships associated with them, what Armand Frémont has called “the entire group of spatialized social interrelations”: see Méo, Guy Di, “De l’espace aux territoires: éléments pour une archéologie des concepts fondamentaux de la géographie,” L’information géographique 62, no. 3 (1998): 99–110 Google Scholar, here p. 106.

58. Religious institutions were under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Justice.

59. AQSh, collection 155 (Ministry of Justice), year 1932, file VIII-210, fol. 54, the Ministry of the Interior to the Ministry of Instruction, September 22, 1932.

60. AQSh, collection 155 (Ministry of Justice), year 1932, file VIII-210, fol. 53, the head of the Autocephalous Church, Vissarion, to the Ministry of Justice, August 23, 1932. Two and a half years later, the head of the Autocephalous Church requested that the same measure be taken against a priest holding a position in the monastery of Shën-Marena near Pogradec, as well as against his wife, a teacher, because they supposedly propagandized in favor of Uniatism: AQSh, collection 152 (Ministry of the Interior), year 1935, file 718, fol. 6, Vissarion to the Ministry of Justice, March 26, 1935.

61. AQSh, collection 152 (Ministry of the Interior), year 1933, file 152, fol. 120, the commanding officer of the gendarmerie to the general commanding officer, Shkodër, June 12, 1934; ibid., fols. 121–22, the prefect to the secret office of the Ministry of the Interior, June 11, 1934.

62. Kurti, Teki, “Aspekte të organizimit dhe të veprimtarisë së qeverisjes vendore (1928– 1939),” Studime historike 3, no. 4 (2009): 265–77 Google Scholar.

63. Clayer, “Frontière politique, frontière ethnique et État-nation.”

64. Shtëpani, Reshit, Shtëpanët e Shëngjergjit në rrjedhën e shekujve (Tirana: Globus R., 1999), 413 Google Scholar. Shtëpani refers to the fact that school teachers could sometimes have other occupations and neglect, at least in part, their teaching.

65. van Leeuwen, Richard, “The Control of Space and Communal Leadership: Maronite Monasteries in Mount Lebanon,” Revue du monde musulman et de la Méditerranée 79–80 (1996): 183–99 Google Scholar.

66. Beckett, Katherine and Herbert, Steve, “Penal Boundaries: Banishment and the Expansion of Punishment,” Law & Social Inquiry 35, no. 1 (2010): 1–38 CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

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