Revolution Reconsidered: An Alternative Approach to Understanding Social Revolution
53 Pages Posted: 2 Nov 2021 Last revised: 19 Aug 2022
Date Written: October 30, 2021
Social revolutions are typically defined as a transformation of the social order and are among the most important world-historical events. Despite their importance, existing research often follows a set of implicit or explicit conventions in the definition and measure thereof that produce conceptual and empirical challenges to the study of social revolution. To correct these issues, I present a new framework for studying social revolution. If social revolutions are a transformation of the social order, the framework proposed here advocates shifting the unit of analysis from social revolutions as a whole to the programs and projects political actors use to achieve a transformation of the social order (e.g., land reform, emancipation, expanding access to political institutions, etc.). I call these programs and projects "revolutionary repertoires". The revolutionary repertoires approach addresses analytic issues that arise in works on social revolution, enables scholars to refine existing research questions, and offers several avenues for future work.
Keywords: revolution, measurement
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