Between 1920 and 1924, self-described progressives began importing and promoting western concert music in order to “civilize” Albania’s population. Questions of sovereignty, civilization, and government came to be intermeshed in their plans “to enlighten and beautify the soul of the individual.” This article demonstrates how progressives introduced into Albanian politics the modern project of personhood through their concern for the individual. In doing this, I suggest how ethnomusicologists’ concern with the construction and performance of nominalist categories of identity may be extended in order to critically historicize the emergence of the modern project of being.

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