On Albanian identity in the Late Ottoman Empire

Title: On Albanian identity in the Late Ottoman Empire
Source document: Porta Balkanica. 2013, vol. 5, iss. 1, pp. [8]-16
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Type: Article
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The scholarship on Albanian anthropology and national(ist) movement maintains that the Albanian-speakers at the end of the 19th and in the beginning of the 20th centuries clearly identified, categorized and understood themselves as the members of a particular ethno-cultural group (the Albanians – shqiptarët). Closer assessment reveals that the ethnic identity of externally categorized "Albanians" hardly appeared in the given historical period. Often Albanian-speakers considered their belonging to the religious community or the Ottoman state as far more important than any sort of affiliation with a cultural group. In other circumstances "Albanians" could be much more attached to their clan or region, without paying attention to how the latter were composed in terms of language and even religion. When certain cultural or linguistic identity, appeared, as in the case of “Albanian” elites striving to be "true Albanians" or Albanian-speakers distinguishing their linguistic fellows, it was rather situational and got overburdened by crosscutting social, territorial, tribal, religious and other meanings.
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