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Running head: ALBANIAN

Albanian Familys Ethnicity

Rachel Toth
Wayne State University


Abstract Page

This paper is discussing the obstacles every Albanian culture faces, as much as their
positivity outcomes. It discusses how their collective history is based on their last name and how
society will view them. Also, it explains the types of sources they come into contact with such as
identity, stress, and strength which shows the groups reality. In addition, it explains how
Albanians have to hold specific gender roles and what certain outcomes there are if these gender
roles are not upheld. Plus, it talks about how the group functions in relation to other systems such
as their education or religion. Eventually, it explains how they transmit their cultural values as
each generation progresses. Finally, it discusses how social work practice fits in with this culture
and what are the powers/privileges of the Albanian culture.


Albanian Familys Ethnicity

The Albanian culture is a very structured culture especially when it comes to their
traditions and heritage. Their history is known throughout all their families because of their last
names. A last name in Albanian culture can tell another family a lot about their history. In
addition, this specific culture struggles with a lot of stereotypes specifically when it comes to
their identity. Depending on the family and the members in their family, certain gender roles are
played as well. This specific group can relate to many different systems such as education,
religion, etc. With all these different assumptions and facts with the Albanian culture this
transmits into their cultural values in both positive and negative ways.
Collective History
Society in todays world is changing every single day especially when it comes to views
about other cultures. The Albanian culture is known as hard-headed, ruthless, and crazy, because
they never give someone time to explain their story; they are always right. When society views
this culture as these crazy people, they judge them even more, which leads to more stereotypes
on their religion, education, and other aspects about them. Albanians are known for their unique
collective history which ties in with how they are viewed. Their collective history deals mostly
with their last names.
A familys last name can tell a lot about a specific Albanian family. Their last names are
known here in America as much as over seas. Every Albanian family wants their children to
marry another to keep it in their culture. As society is changing it has come to where it is up to
the childs decision if they want to marry an Albanian or not. If one chooses to marry an
American they must approach their father and explain to them why they are choosing to do this.


Years ago there were no exceptions, every Albanian child had to marry another if they chose not
to, they were disowned and looked down upon in their family and so was their last name.
Albanian culture deals with a lot of stress dealing with their identity as a whole.
According to Schwandner- Sievers (2008), Travel writing similarly contributed to the image
construction of Albanians as exotic strangers. (p. 59) Every year Albanians hold a feast which
helps out strengthening personal relationships. As a whole every Albanian family has a specific
day that is specially for them and this helps keep their culture and identity as one. In addition,
their identity means a lot not just in their culture but for everyone to know. They are proud of
who they are and they always want everyone to know more about their heritage. Holding a
strong identity helps the whole culture maintain their strengths as more and more people from
this ethnic background choose to come to America to live.
Stress has proven to be a major source of discord for Albanians. The stress that comes
upon them deals mostly with their nationality. They are made fun of, because they are considered
to be stupid. This stresses them out as a whole, because they are proud of their identity but
sometimes they dont want certain individuals knowing who they are. The group in reality wants
others to know who they are, but at the same time they choose to hide their identity.
Gender and Age Roles
According to Woods (1918), The Albanians are generally and probably accurately
identified by impartial authorities. (p. 262) In each Albanian family certain gender roles are
found depending on the age and whether you are a female or a male. In a family the oldest son
has the next biggest responsibility in the family, aside from the father, especially if the father


passes away. For example: if a father passes away and owes someone money, it will be the oldest
sons responsibility to pay of his fathers debt. With this rule in their culture, the eldest son will
consume all of the familys responsibility, no matter what age he may be. In addition, the other
sons in the family wont have this responsibility unless something happens to the eldest son.
However, females have no specific role except that they are known as the ideal, American
woman. This means a female is responsible for going and receiving an education, staying at
home, and taking care of the family.
With these specific gender roles put in place there comes many different obstacles in
Albanian culture. If a son doesnt pay back a debt of his father than his whole family is looked
down upon. Their last name will be looked down upon throughout further generations as well. In
addition, if a gender role is not met, then one will receive punishment from their parents. This
could involve either not being able to go out or going to bed early. In America we would call this
as being grounded, but with Albanian culture it wouldnt matter what age you were.
This specific assignment does reflect the groups cultural identity because it makes you
look at all the positive and negative aspects they deal with. It shows how different cultures deal
with many challenges. In addition, it shows how their age and gender plays a huge role in society
with-in their culture. In the end this assignment can show others how much different cultures can
struggle to be accepted.
Group Function
Being Albanian is more than just a group it is a specific culture that relates to other
systems in todays world. When it comes to education in their culture it depends on the gender
roles not the family. Females are known as the ones who go to school and receive an education,


unlike men. Men are the ones who are viewed as the workers. Men are more so known as school
drop-outs and trouble makers, than the book smart type.
According to Jacques (1995), Albanians gradually abandoned their primitive nature
worship and were first Christianized then Islamized.(p. 14) On the religious view, Albanians
can be Muslim or Catholic depending on the family and their beliefs. In addition, if a son wants
to marry an American and not an Albanian he has this choice. However, if he decides to marry an
American, he needs to explain to his father why this specific female would be accepted in his
family. On the other hand, most females receive arranged marriages and sometimes dont have a
choice. This works both ways in Albanian culture for Muslims and Catholics, but the only
difference is the significant other needs to be the same religion.
Albanians are known as hard workers, which feeds back into gender roles and education.
Male Albanians are known as drop-outs and troublemakers who are un-educated. Further, this
leads to problems in trying to find a job, instead they open up their own businesses to avoid the
drama they may come into contact with. This makes their occupational choices very slim to
choose from, which hurts them emotionally.
Cultural Values
When it comes to cultural values, Albanians have had their values transmitted from
generation to generation. Their values can range from what food they eat to how they dress
themselves every morning. Each gender, education, or occupational role is passed down
throughout the families. As society grows the Albanian values decrease, because everyone is
becoming more diverse with their families.
The values being transmitted involves the values of all Americans. The blend and
transmission that is occurring with this culture is astonishing. Albanians are finally accepting


other cultures in their families and are trying to extend their education, instead of keeping the
same stereotypes people have viewed them as. In addition, they are still passing their traditions
down, but they are getting less and less traditional as the generations progress.
Similar Identity
According to Appleby, Colon, and Hamilton (2011), It is important to realize that many
of us have multiple identities, which assume different levels of importance at different points in
time. (p. 69) Albanians may have a different culture which gives them a different identity, but in
reality they share a similar identity with everyone else. Everyone holds the same human rights,
no matter what nationality a group is. Albanians are able to adapt to other cultures just as much
as other cultures adapt to them as well.
Micro and Macro Levels
There are many different implications for social work practice that involves micro and
macro levels viewing the Albanian culture. To work with the Albanian culture on a micro term,
some examples could be spending one on one time at their feasts learning more about them or
developing groups and learning their views on society. With this, social workers could learn how
they view society and what society can do to help this specific culture. Also, working on a micro
level there is also a macro level with their culture, which involves poverty. Many Albanians are
known as hard workers who own their own businesses, but this can lead to, bankruptcy that. can
potentially result in some becoming homeless. With this being said, we can help them find
shelters or public housing and help this specific culture sustain their identity as winners in
Privilege and Power


Albanians values and culture structures has given them power, privileges, and
disadvantages. They are able to obtain power by being the dominate one in their families,
especially the males. In addition, they are able to run their families weather if they are in poverty
or not. Also, this culture has the privilege to open their own businesses and pass them down
through their generations. This helps further children have a sense of work hood considering the
business will be passed down and gives them privileges to have a source of income. However,
with certain obligations to achieve power and certain privileges, there are some disadvantages.
Albanians have a problem of comprehending certain tasks and their writing isnt very strong;
which leads to difficulties at first opening their business or understanding other Americans.
Albanians have a unique culture that has many different aspects that their lives involve.
They are viewed through their collective history and they receive different stereotypes. In
addition, they are viewed as having very high cultural values which leads to holding certain
gender roles. Throughout their generations they have passed down their values and traditions,
which has lead them to having a hard time with society. As they progress in society they are
developing more with the American way. As the develop this way they have struggled with
education, occupations, and other challenges. Each generation helps this culture grow more in
with society and pretty soon people will understand the Albanian culture and what they are all



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Person-in-environment assessment and intervention. Boston, MA: Pearson


Jacques, E. (1995). The Albanians: An ethnic history from prehistoric times to the present.
Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company, Inc.
Schwandner-Sievers, S. (2008). Albanians, Albanianism, and the strategic subversion of
stereotypes. Gower Street, London: School of Slavonic and East European

University College of London.

Woods, H. (1918). Albania and the Albanians. New York: American Geographical Society of
New York.