“Why do I have to trust you?”The perspective from civil society on active citizenship in post–communist Albania


Civil society (CS) is the main medium in which active citizenship can flourish and have an impact on good governance and democracy. The communist past has played a major role in CS underdevelopment across Eastern European countries but research primarily targeting the elites has explained little of how citizenry has developed and mapped little of the cross-country variation. This paper attempts to increase understanding, looking at the case of Albania, where low levels of active citizenships are documented1, as the main indicator of this underdevelopment. Data from in-depth interviews with key informants explain that it results from a combination of historical factors with current determinants such as the low perceived level of impact, the transparency of CS actors and the political influence believed to often dictate their agendas. These and additional explorations of gender and age differences lead to suggested new strategies to boost active citizenship in the country.