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Research Urban and Regional Studies Institute PRC

From the Village to the City. Adjustment process of internal migrants in Albania

Principal researcher

Erka Çaro

Type of research

PhD research


Professor Leo van Wissen and Dr Ajay Bailey

PhD defense

Monday 4 July 2011 at 11.00 hours

Summary of the project

The title of this PhD project is `From the Village to the City. Adjustment process of internal migrants in Albania`. This dissertation consists of a collection of chapters, a subset of which is published and submitted in journals. Each chapter is treated as a piece of puzzle that explores an important dimension in the lives of rural-to-urban migrants in Kamza. The main goal of the overall dissertation is to construct a complete picture of the migration process and experiences of individuals and households, step by step. I will now present an overview of the structure of this thesis by outlining the contents of each chapter.

This thesis examines the adjustment process of Albanian rural migrants moving to the cities, within the context of the capital city, Tirana. The study is based on an ethnographic approach and on qualitative material collected during 2008-2009. To gain insight of the migrant’s perceptions, a combination of several methods conducted with rural migrants in several sites of Kamza Municipality were used.

It brings new insights to aid our understanding of the adjustment process of internal migrants, gender and generation differences, the importance of personal, social, economic and cultural resources, the length of residence, and the intertwining of internal and international migration.

Adapting the resource-based model and the theoretical notion of length of residence I was able to clarify the complexity of migrant’s adjustment process. I argue that rural migrants need personal, material, social and cultural resources to satisfy their needs, goals and demands. Socio-cultural clustering constitutes the main social resource for migrants. The longer the rural migrants reside in the city the better their adjustment process. Economic security and willingness assist their adjustment process and that women and younger generation are perceived as better adjusted. Moreover international migration combined with internal migration has built up a social economic and security system for rural migrants, acting as a source of development. However, while the migrants feel more adjusted within their community and environment, they do not yet feel urban or part of Tirana, and as such their adjustment to the broader context is a continuous process.

Research objectives and research questions are:

First objective: To provide greater insight into the central role of migration in developmental issues in Albania.

Research Questions

1. How has the transformation process in Albania since the 1990s affected the levels and patterns of migration over time?

2. What is the effect of migration on the social and demographic changes that followed the transformation process?

Second Objective: To provide greater insight into the migration and adjustment process of rural-to-urban migrants. Detail the experiences and paths of early and late migrants, from a generational perspective, in their new environment.

Research Questions

3. How do rural-to-urban migrants take the decision to migrate and what are the migration experiences and paths of migration of the early and late migrant?

4. What are the differences in the adjustment perceptions between early and late migrants and among generations?

Third Objective: To understand the interaction between gender and migration in Albania and to explore the experiential differences for men and women migrants.

Research Questions

5. How do women and men participate in the household migration project?

6. What types of emancipation strategies do migrant women employ in the new environment?

7. What are the strategies used by rural migrant men in the city to situate their traditional masculinities in the context of wider socioeconomic developments and urbanization.

In addition to these research objectives and questions, following the data collection and preliminary analyses a new concept emerged. The linkages between international and internal migration from the perspective of internal migrantand the importance of such links in the process of development of the migrant community


  • Çaro, E. and Van Wissen, L.J.G. (2007), Migration in the Albania of the post-1990s: triggered by post-communist transformations and facilitator of socio-demographic changes. South East Europe Review for Labour and Social Affairs 10 (3): 87-105 [Download [PDF].
  • Çaro, E. 2010. “Coping with Urbanity.” Regional Insights 1(1): 14-16 [Download   [PDF] ].
  • Çaro, E. Bailey, A. Van Wissen, L.J.G. (2011). ‘Negotiating between patriarchy and emancipation: Rural-to-urban migrant women in Albania’ Gender, Place and Culture. In press.

  • Çaro, E. Bailey, A. Van Wissen, L.J.G. (2011). “Winners or Losers” Adjustment strategies of rural-to-urban migrants in Tirana, Albania. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies. Forthcoming


  • “Some dynamics between internal and international migration in Albania. Social and economic capital, a supporting or an impending integration factor?” Paper to be presented at the URSI conference, University of Groningen, The Netherlands (November) 2010
  • Winners or Losers. The perspectives of rural-to-urban migrants in Albania”.Paper presented ate the European Population Conference, Vienna , Austria 2010
  • ‘Negotiating between patriarchy and emancipation: Rural-to-urban migrant women in Albania’. Paper presented at the International conference ESSCH, Gent, Belgium 2010
  • “Impact of internal migration and urbanization process to urban communities in Albania” Paper presented at the RRPP Annual Conference “Social, Political and Economic Change in the Western Balkans” for the workshop “Development, Migration and Inclusion” Durres, Albania 2010.
  • “Adjustment strategies of rural-to-urban migrants. Case Study: Kamza Municipality, Albania”. Paper presented at the Hawaii International Conference on Social Sciences, Honolulu, Hawaii 2010.
  • “Migrant adjustment to urban communities in Albania. Social impact of housing, personal, social and financial costs. Paper presented at the conference “Global Recession: Regional Impacts on Housing, Jobs, Health and Wellbeing” Regional Studies Association, London, England 2009
  • “Rural Metamorphoses - The city that nobody predicted" Case study of KamzaMunicipality” Paper presented at the workshop “Local authorities and economic development”, Athens , Greece 2009
  • “Some migration features in Albania: Historical and political context” Paper presented at the URSI conference, University of Groningen, The Netherlands2008.
  • “Features of internal migration in post-communist Albania.” Poster presented at European Population Conference, Barcelona, Spain 2008,
  • “Integration of rural-to-urban migrants in Kamza, Albania.” Paper presented at the Migration and Development in Albania and the Western Balkans: Remittances, Return and Diaspora Conference, Durres, Albania2008
  • “Migration and gender interaction” Paper presented at the European Social Science History Conference, 26 February – 1 March 2008, Lisbon.
  • “Migration in the Albania of post-1990s”. Paper presented at the third Alb-shkenca conference,Tirana, Albania 2008
Last modified:06 August 2020 3.21 p.m.