Contemporary Southeastern Europe
Population Censuses in Montenegro – A Century of National Identity “Repacking”
Montenegro’s recent political history has been extremely turbulent. Within less than a century, this country lost and regained internationally recognized state independence. Moreover, it was a part of three rather different “Yugoslav” state projects. At the same time, albeit without significant demographic shifts, the declared ethnic/national composition of the Montenegrin population changed radically. The focus of this paper is on the interaction between Montenegro’s dynamic political development and the constant reconfiguration of its ethnic/national structure. It concludes that the varying outcomes of the population censuses in Montenegro have actually mirrored political changes which the country has undergone throughout the observed period. It also finds that, because of the proliferation and, in particular, participation in government of nationally-oriented party organizations, census results in recent years have become politically salient to the extent that they began to influence the very character of the political game in Montenegro.