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Social Banditry, Myth and Historical Reality : Conceptualising Contemporary Albanian Organised Crime Against the Hajduks


  • Oskar Gustafson

Summary, in English

This thesis will investigate how Erik Hobsbawm’s theory of ‘social banditry’ can be applied to a contemporary setting to explain the strength and workings of ethnic Albanian organised crime groups.

The paper will delve into a pre-existing debate surrounding the effectiveness of this theoretical lens as a method to account for the global phenomenon of banditry (particularly in the feudalist age). ‘Social banditry’ occurs at times of great social upheaval and distress, when unofficial protagonists manage to wedge themselves into the socio-political framework. Therefore, taking a historical perspective, the research will identify episodes in Albania’s past where the phenomenon has had the opportunity to occur, beginning with banditry in the late eighteenth century. The debate around ‘social banditry’ will bring together significant theoretical approaches with sociological, psychological and empirical reasoning. Given the humanist standpoint of this subject area, the paper will uncover powerful motivators such as honour, nobility and moral justification. It will also analyse how ancient cultural norms continue to cloak immoral criminal actions denoting them as expressions of national pride or personal honour.
In a nation that is looking towards EU accession, this study will present an understanding of what is its most significant road block – that of organised crime.







Examensarbete för masterexamen (Två år)


  • Social Sciences


  • European Studies
  • Albania


  • Tomas Sniegon