Serbia's Antibureaucratic Revolution: Milosevic, the Fall of Communism, and Nationalist Mobilization

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Serbia's Antibureaucratic Revolution: Milosevic, the Fall of Communism, and Nationalist Mobilization

By Nebojsa Vladisavljevic
Palgrave Macmillan, 2008
240 pp. $74.95
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Vladisavljevic challenges nearly every aspect of previous accounts of Slobodan Milosevic's rise to power in 1986-87 and of the nationalist mobilization of 1988-89. The notion that the Yugoslav leader's ascent to power and the resignation of Ivan Stambolic as president of Serbia entailed a recasting of the country's existing form of authoritarianism or the leadership's political program is wrong, Vladisavljevic argues. So is the notion that the mass mobilization around nationalist themes that followed was manufactured and managed from above according to Milosevic's preconceived plan. These errors stem from a misunderstanding of the way social movements emerge and swell in mutating authoritarian societies such as that of post-Tito Yugoslavia. Much of Vladisavljevic's attention is focused on the ground-up mobilization of the Kosovo Serbs between 1986 and 1988, which Vladisavljevic insists emerged spontaneously in the collective action of local groups rather than being orchestrated from above. He explores in detail both the path to the point at which and the culminating phase when the leadership caught the wave and began guiding the movement. It is a stimulating argument and doubtless one that will stimulate argument.