Date of Award

Spring 5-13-2011

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Michael L. Bruner

Second Advisor

Greg Lisby

Third Advisor

Tomasz Tabako


Using Gene Sharp’s guidelines for nonviolent action and Steven Levitsky and Lucan Way’s four arenas of contestation (electoral, legislative, judiciary, and the media) that allow opposition forces to challenge, weaken, or defeat competitive authoritarian regimes, this study provides a functionalist analysis of Serbia’s Otpor movement. Serbia under Milošević was a particular type of hybrid regime called competitive authoritarianism, a regime where the rules of a fully democratically integrated government are violated so often and to such extent that competitive authoritarian incumbents fall short of the bare minimum standards of conventional democracy, bordering the line of authoritarian dictators. Combining Sharp, Levitsky, and Way’s functionalist perspective on social movements with those of sociologists Charles Tilly and Lesley Wood and Charles Stewart’s functional approach to the rhetoric of social movements, this study outlines Otpor’s strategies and analyzes them in hopes of outlining a blueprint for future social movements with similar political opportunities available.


Available for download on Sunday, April 26, 2099