Albania’s conservative society resists advance of new values

Ervin Qafmolla

The continuing appeal of the canon (like the one of Leke Dukadjini), as well as conventional heritage prohibits premarital sex to a tribal society, especially in the rural north.

The story introduces virginity as a symbol of old values and examines the paradox of how young men are happy to live a “Western” life when abroad, but still want a virgin bride when they come home.

Main sources in the article are personal stories – woman who is still a sworn virgin, and has obeyed society’s traditional rules. Other sources include young people, anthropologists, experts on theme of virginity, historians and relevant experts.

The main question is how - and to what degree - are the pressures of media and globalization challenging traditional Albanian society, looking at whether traditional society is fighting back with any success.

The story explores the similar values in Sicily – conservative part of Italy, but ahead of Albania.

The story looks at the discrepancies rural and urban worlds and the way the former has changed under the influence of exposure to Western trends, migration, and the fall of communism.  Which side is winning?

Article style: Feature

Fellow Bio


Ervin Qafmolla

Ervin Qafmolla is a journalist based in Tirana, Albania. He works at MAPO magazine as a business and economics writer. He is responsible for reporting, writing news analyses and editing economics and social affairs content for MAPO

Fellowship Article

While Tirana embraces the modern sexual revolution, traditional moral codes still hold sway in remote northern Albania. But even there, things are gradually changing.


Topic 2010: Taboo

Taboos change – rapidly. Homosexuality was once a taboo in Western Europe, as was “living in sin”, [i.e. outside marriage], abortion, childlessness, physical disabilities, atheism and suicide


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