Commoning as a Material Engagement of Resistance: The Struggle to Save the Albanian National Theater

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This chapter discusses the struggles of commoning as a material engagement in Tirana, the capital of Albania, as it transitions from a totalitarian state socialist regime to a currently consolidating neoliberal one. It reflects upon the field of relations generated during the collective resistance to save the National Theater, which was brutally demolished in May 2020. The story of the theater is essential in understanding the ongoing suffocation of collective emancipatory initiatives generated spontaneously in times of developmentalist pressure of a corrupt state-power-capital coalition which does not confine itself even to the material cultural heritage. The commoning process of the resistance challenges power relations while generating new extra-institutional practices of care for the spatial and material conditions of the space and the human bodies affectively related to it. It contributes to a new understanding of collectivity in Albanian society, an indispensable feature to achieve democracy. The theater building plays an active role in generating collective practices, carrying a political and emotional load, that affect perpetual bonding relations. The affective capacity of the material-human formation challenges the current material culture of demolition and construction in Tirana and the language around it. New architectural practices of resistance emerge as new ways of engaging in collective endeavors in city-making.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationDesign Commons
Subtitle of host publicationPractices, Processes and Crossovers
Number of pages25
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-030-95057-6
ISBN (Print)978-3-030-95056-9
Publication statusPublished - 2022

Publication series

NameDesign Research Foundations
ISSN (Print)2366-4622
ISSN (Electronic)2366-4630


  • Commoning
  • Material-human formation
  • Situatedness
  • Political transition
  • National Theater Albania
  • Resistance


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