When two hands rock the cradle : symbolic dimensions of the divide over statehood and identity in Montenegro
Title: When two hands rock the cradle : symbolic dimensions of the divide over statehood and identity in Montenegro
Author: DZANKIC, Jelena
Citation: Pål KOLSTØ (ed.), Strategies of symbolic nation-building in South Eastern Europe, London : Ashgate, 2014, Southeast European Studies, pp. 115-138
The most manifest result of the divide over statehood that consumed Montenegro’s politics over the past decade has been the change in the meaning of national categories. In the political discourse, and subsequently in the public sphere, being a ‘Montenegrin’ became associated with the restoration of Montenegro’s sovereignty, while being a ‘Serb’ (in Montenegro) was related to the preservation of the common state with Serbia. Rather than being an endogenously induced identity change, the reconstruction of national categories in Montenegro was an elite-driven process, which materialised out of two rival political projects after the 1997 split in the ruling party. In order to legitimate their competing visions of Montenegro’s statehood, the leaders of these projects sought to reinvent tradition and give their claims a distinctive ‘national’ flare. Thus, starting from the exploration of the emergence of the rival nation-building projects, this chapter argues that the two political elites competed over the historical and geographic dimensions of national identity in Montenegro.
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