A nation-state without the nation? The trajectories of nation-formation in Montenegro

Malešević, Siniša and Uzelac, Gordana (2007) A nation-state without the nation? The trajectories of nation-formation in Montenegro. Nations and nationalism, 13 (4). pp. 695-722. ISSN 1469-8129


Following the successful referendum of May 2006, Montenegro became the last of the former Yugoslav republics to opt for an independent state. Only fifteen years earlier, when the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia collapsed, Montenegro was resolute to continue the Yugoslav state-formation in a union with Serbia. This paper attempts to answer the following questions: Why did it take so much longer for the Montenegrin population to follow the experience of other republics in its decision on independence? How can one explain a staggering change in public opinion on questions of national self-determination over such a short time-span? And, finally, what are the dominant discourses of “Montenegrin-ness”? The authors argue that the answers to these questions are to be found in the particularities of Montenegro's historical development, and especially in the structural legacies of state socialism. The consequence of these developments was the formation of two separate Montenegrin national ideologies: one which sees Montenegrins as ethnically Serb, and the other that defines Montenegrins in civic terms. The paper concludes that these two divergent trajectories of nation-formation in Montenegro are largely the unintended consequence of intensive state-building, cultural and political modernisation and, most of all, the gradual politicisation and institutionalisation of high culture.

MALE-EVI-_et_al-2007-Nations_and_Nationalism.pdf - Accepted Version

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