Albanian Women Immigrants in Greece
Psychology Panteion University of Social and Political Sciences Athens, Greece
Modern Greece has always been a country of migration, similar to the rest of South Mediterranean countries. Since the Second World War, there has been a continuous migration flow from Greece to Western Europe, US and Australia. However, it is indeniable that the 1990s have been a testing periode for the Greek state, which proved to be unprepared - administratively and socially - to accept the masses of immigration that flooded the country after 1990, specially from Albania.
The socio-historical framework used in this study addresses the use of free time and the meanings of leisure activities among Albanian women living in Greece over the last ten years. Discourse analysis draws out some dynamic aspects of leisure activities through which Albanian women demand their autonomy from patriarchal models of family life.
This paper investigates the use and the representations of free (and working) time among Albanian women throughout two main questions: a) Which is the role of leisure activities regarding the exclusion or the integration of migrants into the Greek society? b) Which is the role of women in the maintenance of their own cultural identity and, at the same time, in the integration into the host society and its values?
The research results shows the evidence of the growing importance for Albanian women of leisure time as an oppurtunity for more autonomy and independence in the midst of various social, economic and familial constraints. Leisure activities, especially in the public sphere, are increasingly demanded by women as a right to "a time of one's own" distinct from family leisure. This time represents a base from which Albanian women living in Greece fight against traditional strereotypes and roles, confront a male dominated culture and try to assume European post modern ways of life.