Serbs - Sociopolitical Organization

Yugoslavia is a Socialist federated republic with separate heads of state and government. The Communist party as embodied in the National Front remained the principal political force in the country until the late 1980s. After Tito's death in 1980 and the establishment of a collective presidency to replace him, the head of the collective presidency had been rotated between members representing each republic and the two Serbian autonomous regions. By 1991, however, the Central government was in danger of disintegrating and the national Communist party, under its old framework, had been dissolved. Late in 1991, Croatia and Slovenia withdrew from the republic and declared their independence. War between the Serb-dominated national army and Croatians has left Serbia in control of some territory within Croatia. The Serbian republic's government remains headed by ex-Communists, as of early summer 1992.

Social Organization. The class structure of modern Serbia is occupational and simple. Some pure agriculturalists remain in rural areas, but most households combine agriculture with some wage earning. Landless working people also exist. Successful peasant agriculturalists may still be esteemed, but the urban upper commercial class now wields real political power.

Political Organization. Administrative divisions below the republic level have been reorganized several times since 1945. Village and other local councils are important to local affairs. Village council members are locally elected and responsible for the exercise of federal and republic government policies at the local level, as well as deciding policy on local affairs. Membership in the Communist party is not a prerequisite to being elected.

Social Control. Public opinion and tradition, coupled with a well-developed federal court system, are important to conflict resolution and the maintenance of conformity.

Conflict. Serbian history is fraught with warfare, both Internal and external. Centuries of war with the Turks is a Common theme in traditional oral epic poetry and is an important symbol of solidarity against the outside world. Serbia, and the former Yugoslavia as a whole, were decimated in both the First and Second World Wars.

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