Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Sociology, Anthropology and Criminal Justice

Committee Chair/Advisor

Dr. Laura Olson

Committee Member

Dr. Jeffrey Peake

Committee Member

Dr. Vaiva Kalesnikaite


Although many scholars have considered how religious institutions can affect democratic change, little attention has been given to the contemporary transnational potential of a church with a distinctively national identity. This study will explore the capacity of national churches to act transnationally by analyzing the Serbian Orthodox Church’s (SOC) recent political intervention in Montenegro, during which the church mobilized almost half of the Montenegrin population during the COVID pandemic in a movement that led to the defeat of Montenegro’s president in parliamentary elections for the first time in 30 years. My project is based on in-depth elite interviews with ten SOC leaders in the Balkans and the Diaspora. The purpose of the study is to understand the transnational potential of the SOC, its motivation for action and cooperation, and its political aspirations in the Balkans in the context of Serbian (Orthodox) nationalism.



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