Toward a Fourth Generation of Revolutionary Theory
50 Pages Posted: 6 Jan 2010
Date Written: January 1, 2001
Third-generation theories of revolution pointed to the structural vulnerabilities of regimes as the basic causes of revolutions. In the last decade, critics of structural theories have argued for the need to incorporate leadership, ideology, and processes of identification with revolutionary movements as key elements in the production of revolution. Analyses of revolutions in developing countries and in communist regimes have further argued for incorporating these factors and for the inadequacy of structural theories to account for these events. Rather than try to develop a list of the “causes” of revolutions, it may be more fruitful for the fourth generation of revolutionary theory to treat revolutions as emergent phenomena, and to start by focusing on factors that cement regime stability. Weakness in those factors then opens the way for revolutionary leadership, ideology, and identification, along with structural factors such as international pressure and elite conflicts, to create revolutions.
Keywords: Revolution, social theory
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