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Culture & Identity of Montenegro

Introduction

Montenegro is a small country that is still finding its identity. The country is changing with each passing year as the young country searches for direction. The way of life in the country is also changing as differences can be seen from generation to generation and from region to region.

A growing number of people in Montenegro are urbanized today, but historically the people have been fairly rural as the mountains have created a culture based on limited communication from mountain valley to valley. In these mountains the way of life today and in the past has been focused on family, friends, and neighbors as small communities were, and still are the foundation of the culture and daily way of life.

In the modern age many young people are leaving their towns behind as people are slowly moving to the cities, primarily to find jobs and higher wages. Today about 60% of the population is urbanized with many having jobs that define more specific hours and hence create a way of life based on their jobs and the city life, although Montenegro has no huge cities. For many of these jobs hours run from about 8:00 am to about 5:00 pm, but as these regular hours are a relatively new concept in the country hours vary.

Despite the changing way of life in Montenegro, family and friends remain the center of the culture and are the pinnacle of importance on the people's minds. No matter how much the cities are altering the culture and way of life, the priorities have remained the same and even in these cities there seems to be an aura of village life ever present.

Identity

Since the 1990s and, in particular, since independence in 2006, Montenegrins have begun to create a stronger independent identity. Prior to the 1990s most Montenegrins defined themselves on items that were primarily Serbian or Russian, but today they are beginning to better define and cling to their own history and traditions. While nearly every ethnic Montenegrin first identifies as a Montenegrin, what it means to be a Montenegrin is ever evolving. Citizenship, ethnicity, language, religion, history, and other aspects of the culture are all aspects of this identity, but to what degree each holds in importance is arguable. As this identity is still being formed and is ever changing, how the Montenegrin identity will be defined in twenty, or even in five years may be vastly different from what it is today.

This page was last updated: November, 2013