Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name


Organizational Unit

Josef Korbel School of International Studies

First Advisor

Erica Chenoweth

Second Advisor

Timothy Sisk

Third Advisor

Jack Donnelly

Fourth Advisor

Ryan Bakker


Anti-Apartheid movement, International politics, Item response theory, Latent variables, Multidimensional scaling, Social movements


Nonviolent mass movements are an important and increasingly ubiquitous element of interstate politics in the 21st century. Diverse states - democratic, autocratic, rich, and developing – all have supported movements in some form. Explaining the convergence of such state actors on support for usually pro-democratic mass resistance challenges our existing scholarly frameworks. Using a new dataset, I reconcile the differing explanations of foreign assistance to movements that political science would offer with deep descriptive analysis pursued inductively. First, I propose a conceptual foundation for external support, couching an individual state’s support as the manifestation of an outcome-oriented foreign policy and offering five different categories of support types. To better compare amongst states supporters globally, though, I offer a way to detect the nature of a state’s commitment to a supported movement based on the costs it assumes when providing assistance. In a heuristic case study, I examine the South African Anti-Apartheid movement and find that the most committed states offered diverse forms of support and had engaged domestic constituencies. I extrapolate from the broader South Africa findings to conduct a global analysis of support to movements between 2000-2014, which yields three ideal types of state supporters: willing revisionists, institutional stewards, and grievance legitimizers. The data reveal new dynamics in international politics. Most prominently, I show that in the face of a mass movement, countries most amenable to a disruption in the status quo tend to limit direct involvement, while offering loud condemnations. Meanwhile, states most interested in the promotion of democracy work with the afflicted government quietly behind the scenes.

Publication Statement

Copyright is held by the author. User is responsible for all copyright compliance.

Rights Holder

Maria A. Lotito


Received from ProQuest

File Format




File Size

164 pgs


International relations, Political science, African studies