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Framing Science in Albania’s Historical Context

CONTEXT

Dealing with the communist past in Albania has been characterised as a slow and fragmented process. During the past 25 years, there have been some attempts to adopt a pertinent legal framework, but the process has not been successful mainly due to society’s high sensibility, along with constant political polarisation and lack of dialogue. In principle, the politics of memory are considered relevant as memory has real consequences in the present. As such, this makes the politics of memory an important area of research for political science, which should focus on the communicative ways that mediate interactions between the public opinion and the formal state institutions. Although this approach highlights the importance of the state as the primary nexus for memory disputes, it takes developments within civil society and the role of international community into account as well.


Considering that dealing with historical memory and remembrance constitutes a complex process, there is a need for an inclusive, informed and objective discourse on the role of science in Albania’s processes of social transformation. It should contribute to strengthening the public debate on national memory policies, providing different approaches and ensuring genuine historical evidence. 
 

INTERVENTION LOGIC +

The Authority for Information on Documents of the Former State Security approached PERFORM with the idea of conducting archival research with the aim of building a narrative on the role science has had in the country’s historical context and how it could contribute to today’s social transformation processes. The work would include analyses of ten profiles of intellectuals who have been directly or indirectly linked to the former communist regime, namely in the timeframe 1945-1954. 

This pilot intervention follows a two-phased approach, namely:


Phase I: Archival research work (February – August)
Five senior scientists, together with five junior researchers, conduct archival research work on the profiles and contribution of ten scientists, who have been actively engaged in their respective fields of expertise, during the period 1945-1954. The selection of the profiles of ten scientists has followed an interdisciplinary approach, so as to highlight the multifaceted nature of science and its relevance in Albania’s development processes. 


Phase II: Communication platform and outreach (September – November)
Once the research work has been concluded, the research papers are made available to two storytellers, who seek to ‘translate’ the findings in a simple and understandable language to the wider community. The aim is to produce communication products/outputs that can also be used by the Authority as illustrations for education purposes.


Moreover, an interactive online platform will be established, which will collect and make available all the research works and projects implemented by the Authority so far (supported by different donors). The online platform will serve as a resource centre not just for the Authority, but for different stakeholders and communities to consult the available information and use the materials for educational/illustration purposes.
 

EXPECTED RESULTS +
  • Collaboration between Albanian researchers established;
  • A pool of interdisciplinary experts formed for the needs of the Authority for Information on Documents of the Former State Security;
  • Interdisciplinary skills and capacities of junior researchers improved;
  • An interactive e-communication platform built for educational and awareness raising purposes;
  • Public debates held on the basis of genuine archival research work; 
  • A new narrative on the role of science in country’s transitional reform processes has been created.
     
NEXT STEPS TO EXPAND SYSTEMIC CHANGE +

This pilot intervention focused only on the first decennial of establishment of the communist regime, namely 19945-1954. The overall purpose is to expand the archival research work and public reflection debate on the role of science in Albania’s historical context on the next decennials of the former communist regime as well. In this regard, the Authority for Information on Documents of the Former State Security will explore all the opportunities to expand this pilot intervention and engage the established interdisciplinary network of experts in this process. 


The replication of this pilot initiative is expected to contribute to an expansion of the pool of experts, which would allow for horizontal networking, exchange of experiences, exchange of knowledge, communication and advocacy activities, etc. Moreover, it is expected to lead to a raised public awareness on a multitude of topics dealing with the past and current transition processes.
 

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