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Teme
2016, vol. 40, iss. 2, pp. 543-562
article language: Serbian
document type: Original Scientific Paper

Crna Trava and its residents: A study of the sustainability of the identity of Serbs and ethnic minorities in the border regions of eastern and South-Eastern Serbia
Filozofski fakultet, Departman za sociologiju, Niš

e-mail: suzana.markovic.krstic@filfak.ni.ac.rs

Project

The sustainability of the identity of Serbs and national minorities in the border municipalities of eastern and southeastern Serbia (MESTD - 179013)

Abstract

The paper is based on a wide range of research findings which represent an empirical basis for a sociological analysis of the social life in the municipality of Crna Trava, located on the borderlands of Southeast Serbia. An interpretation of the research results based on the integrative theoretical and methodological approach to the study of the dimensions of socio-demographic changes in rural settlements, functioning family farms, the quality of life of young people and older people in the countryside, to modify certain practices, as well as the religious and social roles of fairs and cult places. In addition, the paper discusses the social role of priests, role models, artisans and teachers in terms of their contribution to the sustainability of the identity of the Serbs and national minorities in the border municipality of Crna Trava. The empirical and statistical findings that have been reached, on one hand, point to the economic underdevelopment, poverty, depopulation and the ageing of the population in most villages in the borderlands of Southeast Serbia, while the abandoned houses and 'extinguished hearths' are a strong indicator of the demographic collapse, and the 'drama' in the Serbian village is a clear and visible outcome. On the other hand, the maintenance and fostering of cultural traditions, respect for the customs and the existence of religious beliefs, with some modification in accordance with the socio-economic context, bear witness to the survival and sustainability of the national identity of the Serbs and ethnic minorities in the municipality of Crna Trava, but also to the possibilities of development, despite a number of socio-economic problems the people of Crna Trava encounter living in this underdeveloped border municipality.

Keywords

craftsman; quality of life; national identity; borderland; socio-demographic changes; teacher; Crna Trava; Crnotravci