Agneza Bozic

Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Dr. James Gilchrist

Second Advisor

Dr. James Jaksa

Third Advisor

Dr. Richard Joyce

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access


The hypothesis of this work is that the political rhetoric of the Serbian leader, Milosevic, was among the major factors contributing to the political and social changes in Serbia and Yugoslavia, which ultimately led to the war.

Three of Milosevic's speeches were studied in detail: the speeches of April 24, 1987, October 17, 1988, and November 19, 1988. The method of rhetorical analysis was adopted from Andrews (1990) because this method stresses the importance of context and effects of the speech. The theories of political language (Graber, 1981) and of political rhetoric (Bitzer, 1981) together with Johannesen's (1989) theory of ethics in political persuasion were utilized in the analyses.

The analyses of the speeches in regard to their level of complexity suggest that a shift occurred in Milosevic's rhetoric, from rhetoric high in the level of complexity to simplistic and value-laden statements, and thus low in the level of complexity.