Protest events as institutions: stakeholder perceptions of the changing role of Serbia's EXIT festival.

L Durić, J Kennell, MD Vujičić, I Stamenković , Jelena Farkić

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


Purpose: This research explores how protest events can change and develop over time, through an analysis of stakeholder perceptions of the EXIT festival in Serbia. In doing this, it builds on previous research into protest events from a critical events studies perspective and has implications for the management and understanding of events linked to social movements. Design/methodology/approach: This research took a neo-institutionalist perspective and is based on 18 stakeholder interviews, which were analysed using reflexive thematic analysis. Purposive sampling in the highly-networked city of Novi Sad, Serbia, allowed for the inclusion of diverse participants from politics, NGOs, media and the festival itself. Findings: The findings reveal that the EXIT festival has departed significantly from its original protest roots. Although it is now perceived as part of the dominant political culture in Serbia, it still has the potential to campaign on issues of relevance to the region, which is unrealised. This research demonstrates that the neo-institutionalist perspective can offer fresh insights for research into protest events. Taking this perspective suggests practical implications for the managers of events with protest roots and for social movements seeking to use protestival-style methods to achieve social change. Originality/value: This paper provides a new theoretical perspective on protest events and proposes a new model that can be used in future research into protest events that persist over time. It also suggests implications for the management and development of protest events within social movements.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)221-236
Number of pages16
JournalInternational Journal of Event and Festival Management
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2023


  • EXIT festival
  • Festivals
  • Institutional theory
  • Protest events
  • Serbia
  • Stakeholders


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