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Albania as a laboratory for the study of migration and development

journal contribution
posted on 2023-06-08, 20:51 authored by Russell King
This paper functions both as an overview of Albanian migration and as an introduction to the special issue as a whole. The special issue is devoted to a country which lies at the very centre of the region covered by the Journal of Southern Europe and the Balkans, yet which has been treated only sparingly in the pages of the journal thus far. Thematically, the focus is on migration—the phenomenon which is at the heart of economic, social and cultural change in Albania over the past 15 years. No other country in Europe has been so deeply affected by migration over this period of time. But to think of migration as an agent of development in Albania is both simplistic and premature. Quite apart from the problematic nature of such label-terms as ‘development’, ‘modernization’, ‘transformation’, etc.—especially in the Albanian setting—the relationships involved in analysing what has been called ‘the migration–development nexus’ are complex indeed. Does migration, through its beneficial mechanisms which are hypothesized by economists (relief of unemployment, rising wage levels, inflow of remittances, investment-oriented return migration), stimulate development in the migrant-origin country? Or should the relationship be re-stated in a different way: for instance, that it is underdevelopment that causes migration; or that excessive outmigration leads not so much to development of the home country but to its further impoverishment because of the excessive outflow of human capital?


Publication status

  • Published


Journal of Southern Europe and the Balkans




Journal of Southern Europe and the Balkans





Page range


Department affiliated with

  • Geography Publications


Republished in Albanian in Perpjekja, 17(26–27) pp. 11–28.

Full text available

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Peer reviewed?

  • Yes

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