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In
political science Political science is the scientific study of politics Politics (from , ) is the set of activities that are associated with making decisions In psychology, decision-making (also spelled decision making and decisionmaking) is regarded as ...
, a revolution (
Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Republic, it became ...

Latin
: ''revolutio'', "a turn around") is a fundamental and relatively sudden change in political power and political organization which occurs when the population revolts against the government, typically due to perceived oppression (political, social, economic) or political incompetence. Revolutions have occurred throughout human history and vary widely in terms of methods, duration and motivating
ideology An ideology () is a set of belief A belief is an attitude Attitude may refer to: Philosophy and psychology * Attitude (psychology) In psychology Psychology is the science of mind and behavior. Psychology includes the study of ...
. Their results include major changes in culture, economy, and socio-
political institution In political science Political science is the scientific study of politics. It is a social science dealing with systems of governance and power, and the analysis of politics, political activities, political thoughts, political behavior, and asso ...
s, usually in response to perceived overwhelming
autocracy Autocracy is a system of government in which supreme power over a State (polity), state is concentrated in the hands of one person, whose decisions are subject to neither external legal restraints nor regularized mechanisms of popular control (ex ...
or
plutocracy A plutocracy ( el, πλοῦτος, ', 'wealth' and , ', 'power') or plutarchy is a society that is ruled or controlled by people of great wealth Wealth is the abundance of valuable financial asset A financial asset is a non-physical as ...
. Scholarly debates about what does and does not constitute a revolution center on several issues. Early studies of revolutions primarily analyzed events in
European history The history of Europe concerns itself with the discovery and collection, the study, organization and presentation and the interpretation of past events and affairs of the people of Europe since the beginning of written records. During the Neolith ...
from a psychological perspective, but more modern examinations include global events and incorporate perspectives from several social sciences, including
sociology Sociology is a social science Social science is the branch The branches and leaves of a tree. A branch ( or , ) or tree branch (sometimes referred to in botany Botany, also called , plant biology or phytology, is the scie ...
and
political science Political science is the scientific study of politics Politics (from , ) is the set of activities that are associated with making decisions In psychology, decision-making (also spelled decision making and decisionmaking) is regarded as ...
. Several generations of scholarly thought on revolutions have generated many competing theories and contributed much to the current understanding of this complex phenomenon. Notable revolutions in recent centuries include the creation of the
United States The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America, is a country Continental United States, primarily located in North America. It consists of 50 U.S. state, states, a Washington, D.C., ...

United States
through the
American Revolutionary War The American Revolutionary War (1775–1783), also known as the Revolutionary War and the American War of Independence, was initiated by delegates from Thirteen Colonies, thirteen American colonies of British America in Continental Congress ...
(1775–1783), the
French Revolution The French Revolution ( ) was a period of radical political and societal change in France France (), officially the French Republic (french: link=no, République française), is a spanning and in the and the , and s. Its ...

French Revolution
(1789–1799), the
Haitian Revolution The Haitian Revolution (french: révolution haïtienne ; ht, revolisyon ayisyen) was a successful insurrection Rebellion, uprising, or insurrection is a refusal of obedience or order. It refers to the open resistance against the orders o ...

Haitian Revolution
(1791–1804), the
Spanish American wars of independence The Spanish American wars of independence (25 September 1808 – 29 September 1833 es, Guerras de independencia hispanoamericanas) were numerous wars in Spanish America with the aim of political independence against Spanish rule during the earl ...
(1808–1826), the European
Revolutions of 1848 The Revolutions of 1848, known in some countries as the Springtime of the Peoples or the Springtime of Nations, were a series of political upheaval A political revolution, in the Trotskyist Trotskyism is the political ideology and branch o ...
, the
Russian Revolution The Russian Revolution was a period of political Politics (from , ) is the set of activities that are associated with Decision-making, making decisions in Social group, groups, or other forms of Power (social and political), power relatio ...

Russian Revolution
in 1917, the Chinese Revolution of the 1940s, the
Cuban Revolution The Cuban Revolution ( es, Revolución cubana) was an armed revolt conducted by Fidel Castro Fidel Alejandro Castro Ruz (; ; 13 August 1926 – 25 November 2016) was a Cuban revolutionary, lawyer, and politician who was the leader of ...
in 1959, the
Iranian Revolution The Iranian Revolution ( fa, انقلاب ایران, Enqelâb-e Irân, ), also known as the Islamic Revolution ( fa, انقلاب اسلامی, Enqelâb-e Eslâmī) was a series of events that culminated in the overthrow of the Pahlavi dynas ...
in 1979, and the European
Revolutions of 1989 The Revolutions of 1989 formed part of a revolutionary wave A revolutionary wave or revolutionary decade is one series of revolution In political science Political science is the scientific study of politics. It is a social science d ...
.


Etymology

The word ''"revolucion"'' is known in
French
French
from the 13th century, and "revolution" in
English English usually refers to: * English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon England, early medieval England, which has eventually become the World language, leading lan ...

English
by the late fourteenth century, with regard to the revolving motion of celestial bodies. "Revolution" in the sense of representing abrupt change in a
social order The term social order can be used in two senses: In the first sense, it refers to a particular system of social structure In the social sciences, social structure is the patterned social arrangements in society that are both emergence, emergen ...
is attested by at least 1450. Political usage of the term had been well established by 1688 in the description of the replacement of
James II James II and VII (14 October 1633Old Style and New Style dates, O.S.16 September 1701An assertion found in many sources that James died 6 September 1701 (17 September 1701 New Style) may result from a miscalculation done by an author of anonymou ...

James II
with William III. This incident was termed the ''"
Glorious Revolution The Glorious Revolution of November 1688 ( ga, An Réabhlóid Ghlórmhar; gd, Rèabhlaid Ghlòrmhor; cy, Chwyldro Gogoneddus), the invasion also known as the ''Glorieuze Overtocht'' or Glorious Crossing by the Dutch, was the deposition of ...
"''.


Types

There are many different typologies of revolutions in social science and literature.
Alexis de Tocqueville#REDIRECT Alexis de Tocqueville Alexis Charles Henri Clérel, comte de Tocqueville (; 29 July 180516 April 1859), colloquially known as Tocqueville (), was a French aristocrat, diplomat, political scientist, political philosopher and historia ...

Alexis de Tocqueville
differentiated between: *
political revolution A political revolution, in the Trotskyist Trotskyism is the political ideology and branch of Marxism developed by Russian revolutionary Leon Trotsky. Trotsky self-identified as an Orthodox Marxism, orthodox Marxist and Bolsheviks, Bolshevik–L ...
s, sudden and violent revolutions that seek not only to establish a new political system but to transform an entire society, and; * slow but sweeping transformations of the entire society that take several generations to bring about (such as changes in religion). One of several different
Marxist Marxism is a method of socioeconomic Socioeconomics (also known as social economics) is the social science that studies how economic activity affects and is shaped by social processes. In general it analyzes how modern society, societies soci ...
typologies divides revolutions into: * pre-capitalist * early
bourgeois Bourgeoisie (; ) is a polysemous Polysemy ( or ; from grc-gre, πολύ-, , "many" and , , "sign") is the capacity for a word or phrase to have multiple meanings, usually related by contiguity of meaning within a semantic fieldIn linguist ...

bourgeois
* bourgeois * bourgeois-democratic * early
proletarian The proletariat ( from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of t ...

proletarian
* socialist
Charles Tilly Charles Tilly (May 27, 1929 – April 29, 2008) was an American sociology, sociologist, political science, political scientist, and historian who wrote on the relationship between politics and society. He was a professor of history, sociology, and ...
, a modern scholar of revolutions, differentiated between; *
coup d'état A coup d'état (; French for "blow of state"), often shortened to coup in English, (also known as an overthrow) is a seizure and removal of a government and its powers. Typically, it is an illegal, unconstitutional seizure of power by a politic ...
(a top-down seizure of power) *
civil war A civil war, also known as an intrastate war in polemology, is a war War is an intense armed conflict between states State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine publis ...
* revolt, and * "great revolution" (a revolution that transforms economic and social structures as well as political institutions, such as the
French Revolution The French Revolution ( ) was a period of radical political and societal change in France France (), officially the French Republic (french: link=no, République française), is a spanning and in the and the , and s. Its ...

French Revolution
of 1789,
Russian Revolution of 1917 The Russian Revolution was a period of Political revolution, political and social revolution that took place in the former Russian Empire and began during the First World War. Commencing in 1917 with the fall of the House of Romanov and conc ...
, or
Islamic Revolution of Iran The Iranian Revolution ( fa, انقلاب ایران, Enqelâb-e Irân, ), also known as the Islamic Revolution ( fa, انقلاب اسلامی, Enqelâb-e Eslâmī) was a series of events that culminated in the overthrow of the Pahlavi dynas ...
). Mark Katz identified six forms of revolution; * rural revolution * urban revolution * Coup d'état, e.g. Egypt, 1952 * revolution from above, e.g. Mao's
Great leap forward The Great Leap Forward (Second Five Year Plan) of the People's Republic of China China (), officially the People's Republic of China (PRC; ), is a country in East Asia. It is the world's List of countries and dependencies by population, mo ...
of 1958 * revolution from without, e.g. the allied invasions of Italy, 1944 and Germany, 1945. * revolution by osmosis, e.g. the gradual Islamization of several countries. These categories are not mutually exclusive; the
Russian revolution of 1917 The Russian Revolution was a period of Political revolution, political and social revolution that took place in the former Russian Empire and began during the First World War. Commencing in 1917 with the fall of the House of Romanov and conc ...
began with the urban revolution to depose the Czar, followed by rural revolution, followed by the
Bolshevik The Bolsheviks (Russian Russian refers to anything related to Russia, including: *Russians (русские, ''russkiye''), an ethnic group of the East Slavic peoples, primarily living in Russia and neighboring countries *Rossiyane (росс ...

Bolshevik
coup in November. Katz also cross-classified revolutions as follows; * Central; countries, usually
Great powers
Great powers
, which play a leading role in a
Revolutionary wave A revolutionary wave or revolutionary decade is one series of revolution In political science Political science is the scientific study of politics. It is a social science dealing with systems of governance and power, and the analysis of pol ...
; e.g. the
USSR The Soviet Union,. officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. (USSR),. was a socialist state that spanned Eurasia during its existence from 1922 to 1991. It was nominally a Federation, federal union of multiple national Republics of ...

USSR
,
Nazi Germany Nazi Germany, (lit. "National Socialist State"), ' (lit. "Nazi State") for short; also ' (lit. "National Socialist Germany") officially known as the German Reich from 1933 until 1943, and the Greater German Reich from 1943 to 1945, was ...

Nazi Germany
,
Iran Iran ( fa, ایران ), also called Persia, and officially the Islamic Republic of Iran, is a country in Western Asia Western Asia, West Asia, or Southwest Asia, is the westernmost subregion A subregion is a part of a larger regio ...

Iran
since 1979. * Aspiring revolutions, which follow the Central revolution * subordinate or puppet revolutions * rival revolutions, e.g. communist Yugoslavia, and China after 1969 A further dimension to Katz's typology is that revolutions are either against (anti-monarchy, anti-dictatorial, anti-communist, anti-democratic) or for (pro-fascism, communism, nationalism etc.). In the latter cases, a transition period is often necessary to decide on the direction taken. Other types of revolution, created for other typologies, include the
social revolution Social revolutions are sudden changes in the Social structure, structure and nature of society. These revolutions are usually recognized as having transformed society, economy, culture, philosophy, and technology along with but more than just t ...

social revolution
s;
proletarian The proletariat ( from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of t ...
or
communist revolution A communist revolution is a proletarian revolution often, but not necessarily, inspired by the ideas of Marxism that aims to replace capitalism with communism. Depending on the type of government, socialism can be used as an intermediate stage ...
s (inspired by the ideas of Marxism that aims to replace
capitalism Capitalism is an economic system An economic system, or economic order, is a system A system is a group of interacting Interaction is a kind of action that occurs as two or more objects have an effect upon one another. The idea o ...

capitalism
with
Communism Communism (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Repu ...

Communism
); failed or abortive revolutions (revolutions that fail to secure power after temporary victories or large-scale mobilization); or violent vs.
nonviolent revolution A nonviolent revolution is a revolution In political science Political science is the scientific study of politics. It is a social science dealing with systems of governance and power, and the analysis of politics, political activities, po ...
s. The term ''revolution'' has also been used to denote great changes outside the political sphere. Such revolutions are usually recognized as having transformed in society, culture, philosophy, and technology much more than
political system In political science Political science is the scientific study of politics Politics (from , ) is the set of activities that are associated with making decisions in groups, or other forms of power relations between individuals, such ...
s; they are often known as
social revolution Social revolutions are sudden changes in the Social structure, structure and nature of society. These revolutions are usually recognized as having transformed society, economy, culture, philosophy, and technology along with but more than just t ...

social revolution
s. Some can be global, while others are limited to single countries. One of the classic examples of the usage of the word ''revolution'' in such context is the
Industrial Revolution The Industrial Revolution was the transition to new manufacturing processes in Great Britain, continental Europe Continental Europe or mainland Europe is the contiguous continent A continent is any of several large landmasse ...
,
Scientific Revolution The Scientific Revolution was a series of events that marked the emergence In philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about reason, Metaphysics, existence, Epistemology, ...

Scientific Revolution
or the
Commercial Revolution The Commercial Revolution consisted of the creation of a European economy based on trade, which began in the 11th century and lasted until it was succeeded by the Industrial Revolution The Industrial Revolution was the transition to new ma ...
. Note that such revolutions also fit the "slow revolution" definition of Tocqueville. A similar example is the
Digital Revolution The Digital Revolution (also known as the Third Industrial Revolution) is the shift from mechanical and analogue electronic technology Technology ("science of craft", from Ancient Greek, Greek , ''techne'', "art, skill, cunning of hand"; ...
.


Political and socioeconomic revolutions

Perhaps most often, the word "revolution" is employed to denote a change in social and political institutions.
Jack Goldstone Jack A. Goldstone (born September 30, 1953) is an American sociologist, political scientist, and historian, specializing in studies of social movements Social organisms, including humans, live collectively in interacting populations. This interac ...
, ''Theories of Revolutions: The Third Generation'', ''
World Politics ''World Politics'' is a quarterly peer-reviewed Peer review is the evaluation of work by one or more people with similar competencies as the producers of the work ( peers). It functions as a form of self-regulation by qualified members of a ...
'' 32, 1980:425-53
John Foran, "Theories of Revolution Revisited: Toward a Fourth Generation", '' Sociological Theory'' 11, 1993:1-20Clifton B. Kroeber, "Theory and History of Revolution, ''
Journal of World History The ''Journal of World History'' is a peer-reviewed Peer review is the evaluation of work by one or more people with similar competencies as the producers of the work ( peers). It functions as a form of self-regulation by qualified members of ...
'' 7.1, 1996: 21-40
Jeff Goodwin Jeffrey Roger Goodwin (born January 28, 1958) is a professor Professor (commonly abbreviated as Prof.) is an Academy, academic rank at university, universities and other post-secondary education and research institutions in most countries. ...
gives two definitions of a revolution. First, a broad one, including
any and all instances in which a state or a political regime is overthrown and thereby transformed by a popular movement in an irregular, extraconstitutional and/or violent fashion.
Second, a narrow one, in which
revolutions entail not only
mass mobilizationMass mobilization (also known as social mobilization or popular mobilization) refers to mobilization of civilianIn general use, a civilian is "a person who is not a member of the police, the military, armed forces, or a fire department." This use di ...
and
regime change Regime change is the forcible or coerced replacement of one government regime In politics Politics (from , ) is the set of activities that are associated with making decisions in groups, or other forms of power relations between individ ...
, but also more or less rapid and fundamental social, economic and/or cultural change, during or soon after the struggle for state power.Goodwin, p.9.
Jack Goldstone Jack A. Goldstone (born September 30, 1953) is an American sociologist, political scientist, and historian, specializing in studies of social movements Social organisms, including humans, live collectively in interacting populations. This interac ...
defines a revolution as
an effort to transform the political institutions and the justifications for political authority in society, accompanied by formal or informal mass mobilization and non-institutionalized actions that undermine authorities.Jack Goldstone, "Towards a Fourth Generation of Revolutionary Theory", ''
Annual Review of Political Science ''Annual Review of Political Science'' is an annual peer-reviewed Peer review is the evaluation of work by one or more people with similar competencies as the producers of the work ( peers). It functions as a form of self-regulation by quali ...
'' 4, 2001:139-87
Political and socioeconomic revolutions have been studied in many
social sciences Social science is the branch The branches and leaves of a tree. A branch ( or , ) or tree branch (sometimes referred to in botany Botany, also called , plant biology or phytology, is the science of plant life and a branch of biol ...

social sciences
, particularly
sociology Sociology is a social science Social science is the branch The branches and leaves of a tree. A branch ( or , ) or tree branch (sometimes referred to in botany Botany, also called , plant biology or phytology, is the scie ...
,
political science Political science is the scientific study of politics Politics (from , ) is the set of activities that are associated with making decisions In psychology, decision-making (also spelled decision making and decisionmaking) is regarded as ...
s and
history History (from Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approxima ...

history
. Among the leading scholars in that area have been or are
Crane Brinton Clarence Crane Brinton ( Winsted, Connecticut, 1898 – Cambridge, Massachusetts Cambridge ( ) is a city in Middlesex County, Massachusetts, Middlesex County, Massachusetts, and part of the Greater Boston, Boston metropolitan area as a major su ...
, Charles Brockett, Farideh Farhi, John Foran, John Mason Hart,
Samuel HuntingtonSamuel Huntington may refer to: * Samuel Huntington (Connecticut politician) (1731–1796), American jurist, statesman, and revolutionary leader * Samuel H. Huntington (1765–1817), American jurist, Governor of Ohio * Samuel P. Huntington (1927– ...
,
Jack Goldstone Jack A. Goldstone (born September 30, 1953) is an American sociologist, political scientist, and historian, specializing in studies of social movements Social organisms, including humans, live collectively in interacting populations. This interac ...
,
Jeff Goodwin Jeffrey Roger Goodwin (born January 28, 1958) is a professor Professor (commonly abbreviated as Prof.) is an Academy, academic rank at university, universities and other post-secondary education and research institutions in most countries. ...
, Ted Roberts Gurr,
Fred Halliday Simon Frederick Peter Halliday (22 February 1946Sami ZubaidObituary: Fred Halliday ''The Guardian'' (website), 26 April 2010 – 26 April 2010Anthony BarnetObituary: Fred Halliday opendemocracy) was an Irish writer and academic specialising in In ...
,
Chalmers Johnson Chalmers Ashby Johnson (August 6, 1931 – November 20, 2010) was an American political scientist and professor emeritus ''Emeritus'' (; female: ''Emerita''), in its current usage, is an adjective used to designate a retired chair, professor, p ...
, Tim McDaniel,
Barrington Moore Barrington Moore Jr. (12 May 1913 – 16 October 2005) was an American political sociologist, and the son of forester Barrington Moore. He is well-known for his ''Social Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy: Lord and Peasant in the Making ...
, Jeffery Paige,
Vilfredo Pareto Vilfredo Federico Damaso Pareto ( , , , ; born Wilfried Fritz Pareto; 15 July 1848 – 19 August 1923) was an Italian civil engineer A civil engineer is a person who practices civil engineering Civil engineering is a Regulation and licensur ...

Vilfredo Pareto
,
Terence Ranger Terence "Terry" Osborn Ranger (29 November 1929 – 3 January 2015) was a prominent British Africanist, best known as a historian of Zimbabwe. Part of the post-colonial generation of historians, his work spanned the pre- and post-Independence ( ...
,
Eugen Rosenstock-Huessy
Eugen Rosenstock-Huessy
,
Theda Skocpol Theda Skocpol (born May 4, 1947) is an American sociologist and political scientist, who is currently the Victor S. Thomas Professor of Government and Sociology at Harvard University Harvard University is a Private university, private Ivy ...

Theda Skocpol
, James Scott,
Eric Selbin
Eric Selbin
,
Charles Tilly Charles Tilly (May 27, 1929 – April 29, 2008) was an American sociology, sociologist, political science, political scientist, and historian who wrote on the relationship between politics and society. He was a professor of history, sociology, and ...
, Ellen Kay Trimberger, Carlos Vistas, John Walton, Timothy Wickham-Crowley, and
Eric Wolf Eric Robert Wolf (February 1, 1923 – March 6, 1999) was an anthropologistAn anthropologist is a person engaged in the practice of anthropology. Anthropology is the study of aspects of humans within past and present Society, societies. Social an ...
.
Jeff Goodwin Jeffrey Roger Goodwin (born January 28, 1958) is a professor Professor (commonly abbreviated as Prof.) is an Academy, academic rank at university, universities and other post-secondary education and research institutions in most countries. ...
, ''No Other Way Out: States and Revolutionary Movements, 1945-1991.'' Cambridge University Press, 2001, p.5
Scholars of revolutions, like
Jack Goldstone Jack A. Goldstone (born September 30, 1953) is an American sociologist, political scientist, and historian, specializing in studies of social movements Social organisms, including humans, live collectively in interacting populations. This interac ...
, differentiate four current 'generations' of scholarly research dealing with revolutions. The scholars of the first generation such as
Gustave Le Bon Charles-Marie Gustave Le Bon (; 7 May 1841 – 13 December 1931) was a leading French polymath A polymath ( el, πολυμαθής, , "having learned much"; la, homo universalis, "universal human") is an individual whose knowledge spans a ...

Gustave Le Bon
, Charles A. Ellwood, or
Pitirim Sorokin Pitirim Alexandrovich Sorokin (; russian: Питири́м Алекса́ндрович Соро́кин, – 10 February 1968) was a Russian-American sociologist and political activist, who contributed to the social cycle theory. Backgroun ...

Pitirim Sorokin
, were mainly descriptive in their approach, and their explanations of the phenomena of revolutions was usually related to
social psychology Social psychology is the scientific Science () is a systematic enterprise that Scientific method, builds and organizes knowledge in the form of Testability, testable explanations and predictions about the universe."... modern scienc ...

social psychology
, such as Le Bon's
crowd psychology Crowd psychology, also known as mob psychology, is a branch of social psychology Social psychology is the Science, scientific study of how the thoughts, feelings, and behaviors of individuals are influenced by the actual, imagined, and impli ...
theory. Second generation theorists sought to develop detailed theories of why and when revolutions arise, grounded in more complex
social behavior Social behavior is behavior Behavior (American English American English (AmE, AE, AmEng, USEng, en-US), sometimes called United States English or U.S. English, is the set of varieties of the English language native to the United St ...
theories. They can be divided into three major approaches: psychological, sociological and political. The works of
Ted Robert Gurr Ted Robert Gurr (February 21, 1936 – November 25, 2017) was an American author and professor of political science Political science is the scientific study of politics. It is a social science dealing with systems of governance and power, and ...
, Ivo K. Feierbrand, Rosalind L. Feierbrand, James A. Geschwender, David C. Schwartz, and Denton E. Morrison fall into the first category. They followed theories of
cognitive psychology Cognitive psychology is the scientific study of mental process Cognition () refers to "the mental action or process of acquiring knowledge and understanding through thought, experience, and the senses". It encompasses many aspects of intelle ...
and frustration-aggression theory and saw the cause of revolution in the state of mind of the masses, and while they varied in their approach as to what exactly caused the people to revolt (e.g., modernization, recession, or discrimination), they agreed that the primary cause for revolution was the widespread frustration with socio-political situation. The second group, composed of academics such as
Chalmers Johnson Chalmers Ashby Johnson (August 6, 1931 – November 20, 2010) was an American political scientist and professor emeritus ''Emeritus'' (; female: ''Emerita''), in its current usage, is an adjective used to designate a retired chair, professor, p ...
,
Neil Smelser Neil Joseph Smelser (1930–2017) was an American sociologist who served as professor Professor (commonly abbreviated as Prof.) is an Academy, academic rank at university, universities and other post-secondary education and research institut ...
,
Bob Jessop Bob Jessop (born 3 March 1946) is a British academic who has published extensively on state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The S ...

Bob Jessop
,
Mark Hart Mark Hart (born July 2, 1953), is an American musician and multi-instrumentalist A multi-instrumentalist is a musician who plays two or more musical instrument A musical instrument is a device created or adapted to make Music, musical sounds. ...
, Edward A. Tiryakian, and Mark Hagopian, followed in the footsteps of Talcott Parsons and the structural-functionalist theory in sociology; they saw society as a system in equilibrium between various resources, demands and subsystems (political, cultural, etc.). As in the psychological school, they differed in their definitions of what causes disequilibrium, but agreed that it is a state of a severe disequilibrium that is responsible for revolutions. Finally, the third group, which included writers such as
Charles Tilly Charles Tilly (May 27, 1929 – April 29, 2008) was an American sociology, sociologist, political science, political scientist, and historian who wrote on the relationship between politics and society. He was a professor of history, sociology, and ...
, Samuel P. Huntington, Peter Ammann, and Arthur L. Stinchcombe followed the path of political sciences and looked at pluralist theory and interest group conflict theory. Those theories see events as outcomes of a power struggle between competing advocacy group, interest groups. In such a model, revolutions happen when two or more groups cannot come to terms within a normal decision making process traditional for a given
political system In political science Political science is the scientific study of politics Politics (from , ) is the set of activities that are associated with making decisions in groups, or other forms of power relations between individuals, such ...
, and simultaneously have enough resources to employ force in pursuing their goals. The second generation theorists saw the development of the revolutions as a two-step process; first, some change results in the present situation being different from the past; second, the new situation creates an opportunity for a revolution to occur. In that situation, an event that in the past would not be sufficient to cause a revolution (e.g., a war, a riot, a bad harvest), now is sufficient; however, if authorities are aware of the danger, they can still prevent a revolution through reform or repression. Many such early studies of revolutions tended to concentrate on four classic cases: famous and uncontroversial examples that fit virtually all definitions of revolutions, such as the
Glorious Revolution The Glorious Revolution of November 1688 ( ga, An Réabhlóid Ghlórmhar; gd, Rèabhlaid Ghlòrmhor; cy, Chwyldro Gogoneddus), the invasion also known as the ''Glorieuze Overtocht'' or Glorious Crossing by the Dutch, was the deposition of ...
(1688), the
French Revolution The French Revolution ( ) was a period of radical political and societal change in France France (), officially the French Republic (french: link=no, République française), is a spanning and in the and the , and s. Its ...

French Revolution
(1789–1799), the
Russian Revolution of 1917 The Russian Revolution was a period of Political revolution, political and social revolution that took place in the former Russian Empire and began during the First World War. Commencing in 1917 with the fall of the House of Romanov and conc ...
, and the Chinese Civil War, Chinese Revolution (also known as the Chinese Civil War) (1927–1949). In his ''The Anatomy of Revolution'', however, the Harvard historian
Crane Brinton Clarence Crane Brinton ( Winsted, Connecticut, 1898 – Cambridge, Massachusetts Cambridge ( ) is a city in Middlesex County, Massachusetts, Middlesex County, Massachusetts, and part of the Greater Boston, Boston metropolitan area as a major su ...
focused on the English Civil War, the American Revolution, the French Revolution, and the Russian Revolution. In time, scholars began to analyze hundreds of other events as revolutions (see List of revolutions and rebellions), and differences in definitions and approaches gave rise to new definitions and explanations. The theories of the second generation have been criticized for their limited geographical scope, difficulty in empirical verification, as well as that while they may explain some particular revolutions, they did not explain why revolutions did not occur in other societies in very similar situations. The criticism of the second generation led to the rise of a third generation of theories, with writers such as
Theda Skocpol Theda Skocpol (born May 4, 1947) is an American sociologist and political scientist, who is currently the Victor S. Thomas Professor of Government and Sociology at Harvard University Harvard University is a Private university, private Ivy ...

Theda Skocpol
,
Barrington Moore Barrington Moore Jr. (12 May 1913 – 16 October 2005) was an American political sociologist, and the son of forester Barrington Moore. He is well-known for his ''Social Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy: Lord and Peasant in the Making ...
, Jeffrey Paige, and others expanding on the old
Marxist Marxism is a method of socioeconomic Socioeconomics (also known as social economics) is the social science that studies how economic activity affects and is shaped by social processes. In general it analyzes how modern society, societies soci ...
class conflict approach, turning their attention to rural agrarian-state conflicts, state conflicts with autonomous elites, and the impact of interstate economic and military competition on domestic political change. Particularly Skocpol's ''States and Social Revolutions'' became one of the most widely recognized works of the third generation; Skocpol defined revolution as "rapid, basic transformations of society's state and class structures [...] accompanied and in part carried through by class-based revolts from below", attributing revolutions to a conjunction of multiple conflicts involving state, elites and the lower classes. From the late 1980s, a new body of scholarly work began questioning the dominance of the third generation's theories. The old theories were also dealt a significant blow by new revolutionary events that could not be easily explained by them. The Iranian Revolution, Iranian and Nicaraguan Revolutions of 1979, the 1986 People Power Revolution in the Philippines and the 1989 Autumn of Nations in Europe saw multi-class coalitions topple seemingly powerful regimes amidst popular demonstrations and General strike, mass strikes in
nonviolent revolution A nonviolent revolution is a revolution In political science Political science is the scientific study of politics. It is a social science dealing with systems of governance and power, and the analysis of politics, political activities, po ...
s. Defining revolutions as mostly European violent state versus people and class struggles conflicts was no longer sufficient. The study of revolutions thus evolved in three directions, firstly, some researchers were applying previous or updated structuralism, structuralist theories of revolutions to events beyond the previously analyzed, mostly European conflicts. Secondly, scholars called for greater attention to conscious Agency (philosophy), agency in the form of ideology and culture in shaping revolutionary mobilization and objectives. Third, analysts of both revolutions and social movements realized that those phenomena have much in common, and a new 'fourth generation' literature on contentious politics has developed that attempts to combine insights from the study of social movements and revolutions in hopes of understanding both phenomena. Further, social science research on revolution, primarily work in political science, has begun to move beyond individual or comparative case studies towards large-N empirical studies assessing the causes and implications of revolution. Initial studies generally rely on the Polity Project's data on democratization. Such analyses, like those by Enterline, Zeev Maoz, Maoz, and Mansfield and Snyder, identify revolutions based on regime changes indicated by a change in the country's score on Polity's autocracy to democracy scale. More recently, scholars like Jeff Colgan have argued that Polity, which measures the degree of democratic or autocratic authority in a state's governing institutions based on the openness of executive recruitment, constraints on executive authority, and political competition, is inadequate because it measures democratization, not revolution, and fails to account for regimes which come to power by revolution but fail to change the structure of the state and society sufficiently to yield a notable difference in Polity score. Instead, Colgan offers a new data set on revolutionary leaders which identifies governments that "transform the existing social, political, and economic relationships of the state by overthrowing or rejecting the principal existing institutions of society." This most recent data set has been employed to make empirically-based contributions to the literature on revolution by identifying links between revolution and the likelihood of international disputes. Revolutions have also been approached from anthropological perspectives. Drawing on Victor Turner's writings on ritual and performance, Bjorn Thomassen has argued that revolutions can be understood as "liminal" moments: modern political revolutions very much resemble rituals and can therefore be studied within a process approach. This would imply not only a focus on political behavior "from below", but also to recognize moments where "high and low" are relativized, made irrelevant or subverted, and where the micro and macro levels fuse together in critical conjunctions. Economist Douglass North argued that it is much easier for revolutionaries to alter formal political institutions such as laws and constitutions than to alter informal social conventions. According to North, inconsistencies between rapidly changing formal institutions and slow-changing informal ones can inhibit effective sociopolitical change. Because of this, the long-term effect of revolutionary political restructuring is often more moderate than the ostensible short-term effect. While revolutions encompass events ranging from Revolutions of 1989, the relatively peaceful revolutions that overthrew communist regimes to the War in Afghanistan (1978–present), violent Islamic revolution in Afghanistan, they exclude ''coups d'état'', civil wars, revolts, and rebellions that make no effort to transform institutions or the justification for authority (such as Józef Piłsudski's May Coup (Poland), May Coup of 1926 or the American Civil War), as well as peaceful transitions to democracy through institutional arrangements such as plebiscites and Election#Difficulties with elections, free elections, as in Spain after the death of Francisco Franco.


See also

* Social movement, Social Movements * Age of Revolution * Classless society * Passive revolution * Political warfare * Psychological warfare * Rebellion * Reformism *
Revolutionary wave A revolutionary wave or revolutionary decade is one series of revolution In political science Political science is the scientific study of politics. It is a social science dealing with systems of governance and power, and the analysis of pol ...
* Right of revolution * Subversion * User revolt - A phenomenon related to the modern Internet


Lists of revolutions

* List of revolutions and rebellions


Further reading

* Beck, Colin J. (2018).
The Structure of Comparison in the Study of Revolution
. Sociological Theory. 36 (2): 134–161.


Bibliography

* Popovic, Srdja. ''Blueprint for Revolution: How to use rice pudding, Lego men, and other nonviolent techniques to galvanize communities, overthrow dictators, or simply change the world''. Spiegel and Grau, New York, 2015, * ''The International Encyclopedia of Revolution and Protest: 1500 to the Present'', ed. by Immanuel Ness, Malden, MA [etc.]: Wiley & Sons, 2009, * Perreau-Sausine, Emile. ''"Les libéraux face aux révolutions : 1688, 1789, 1917, 1933"'', ''Commentaire'', Spring 2005, pp. 181–193


References


External links

* Hannah Arendt
IEP.UTM.edu
''On Revolution'', 1963, Penguin Classics, New Ed edition: February 8, 1991. {{Authority control Comparative politics Revolution, Revolutions, Social concepts Social conflict