Montenegrins - Social Organization

Class structure is relatively undifferentiated in rural areas, but as elsewhere in Yugoslavia, the urban elite traditionally have wielded both internal and external political power.

Political Organization. Administrative divisions below the republic level have been reorganized several times since 1945. Below this level, however, the village and other local councils are important to local affairs. Village Council Members are locally elected and are responsible for the exercise of federal and republic government policies at the local level; they also determine policy in local affairs. Traditionally, bonds of kinship expressed in clan or tribal affiliations were important to defining political power.

Social Control. Honor, shame, and duty have traditionally been highly important concepts in defining proper behavior. Proper behavior is reinforced through violence, as evidenced by the high incidence of blood feuding, and gossip. Historically, capital punishment was common for a number of offensives, both major and minor by modern standards. In Contemporary times, the federal court system has attempted to usurp many of the powers earlier vested in kin groups and less Formal clan and tribal courts, but informal settlement of Disagreements (often through bloodshed) remains common.

Conflict. Montenegrin history is fraught with conflict, both internal and external. Montenegro fought in seven wars between 1850 and 1918. Revolt against Ottoman rule was continuous, and the area served as a refuge and staging area for revolts elsewhere in the region. Feuding between kin groups was endemic and continues in some areas even today.

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