Date of Award


Document Type

Campus Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Public Affairs/International Relations

First Advisor

Primo Vannicelli

Second Advisor

Robert Weiner

Third Advisor

Ursula Tafe


The assessment of the socio-economic and political aspects of Albania as it embarked toward democracy has several objectives. The first seeks to deepen the understanding of democracy given the context of a country that had never experienced such a regime. The second attempts to explore the reasons why the pursuit of democracy led to anarchy in Albania. The third tries to highlight the issues that a nation geared toward democracy may experience as it opens up its economy and society to the world, without pursuing gradual steps to accomplish the democratization process.

The study is based on close examination of main events that shaped the Albanian socio-economic and political arena between 1990 and 2004, highlighting the effects of processes such as that of privatization and liberalization of financial markets. Further, analysis of social problems such as corruption ensues highlighting how such an issue affects various parts of society as well as the government as a whole. An analysis of education as a precursor to the success of future generations follows, noting how lack of proper expenditure and little to no investment in human resources may be detrimental to the country's intellectual property and propensity to succeed further. Finally, placed in a comparative context, examples of other Eastern European countries such as Poland, the Czech Republic and Romania are used to demonstrate how lack of a political culture and sound political institutions render the path to democracy even more difficult. The example of Russia is further discussed in order to highlight how democracy can easily transcend to despotism, while the case of South Korea is gainfully utilized to demonstrate the benefits of pursuing a gradualist approach to democracy.

The analysis consists of a literature review of various sources which, when evaluated in comparative terms, highlight further the issues that plague Albania as a country in transition today. The theoretical approach of ancient philosophers such as Plato is also employed to highlight how democracy may transcend into despotism and tyranny.

A full examination of the aforementioned issues demonstrates that only a gradualist approach, characterized by transparency and a will on the part of the government to bring forth positive change would yield notable results, not only in reaching a fully democratic system in Albania, but also in cultivating a democratic culture among the masses, which is the key in propelling and maintaining such a regime successfully.


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