Revolution
Overview
 
A revolution is a fundamental change
Social change
Social change refers to an alteration in the social order of a society. It may refer to the notion of social progress or sociocultural evolution, the philosophical idea that society moves forward by dialectical or evolutionary means. It may refer to a paradigmatic change in the socio-economic...

 in power or organizational structures that takes place in a relatively short period of time.
Aristotle
Aristotle
Aristotle was a Greek philosopher and polymath, a student of Plato and teacher of Alexander the Great. His writings cover many subjects, including physics, metaphysics, poetry, theater, music, logic, rhetoric, linguistics, politics, government, ethics, biology, and zoology...

 described two types of political revolution:
  1. Complete change from one constitution to another
  2. Modification of an existing constitution.

Revolutions have occurred through human history and vary widely in terms of methods, duration, and motivating ideology
Ideology
An ideology is a set of ideas that constitutes one's goals, expectations, and actions. An ideology can be thought of as a comprehensive vision, as a way of looking at things , as in common sense and several philosophical tendencies , or a set of ideas proposed by the dominant class of a society to...

.
Quotations

Revolution is not a dinner party, nor an essay, nor a painting, nor a piece of embroidery; it cannot be advanced softly, gradually, carefully, considerately, respectfully, politely, plainly, and modestly. A revolution is an insurrection, an act of violence by which one Class struggle|class overthrows another.

Mao Zedong. "Che Guevara: Revolutionary & Icon", by Trisha Ziff, Abrams Image, 2006, pg 66

A revolution is an idea which has found its bayonets.

Napoleon Bonaparte. Journal of International Affairs, By Columbia University. School of International Affairs, 1976, pg 94

The revolution is not an apple that falls when it is ripe. You have to make it drop.

Che Guevara. "Che Guevara: Revolutionary & Icon", by Trisha Ziff, Abrams Image, 2006, pg 69

REVOLUTIONARY: An oppressed person waiting for the opportunity to become an oppressor.

Rick Bayan|Rick Bayan, The Cynic's Dictionary

And I realized that the only purpose to revolution is to be able to love who you want, how you want, when you want and where you want...

Dan Bern, "True Revolutionaries", Smartie Mine|Smartie Mine (1999)

Revolution: Political movement which gets many people´s hopes up, let´s even more people down, makes almost everybody uncomfortable, and a few, extraordinarily rich. It is widely held in high regard.

Adolfo Bioy Casares, Descanso de caminantes, 2001.

The first duty of society is to give each of its members the possibility of fulfilling his destiny. When it becomes incapable of performing this duty it must be transformed.

Alexis Carrel, Reflections on Life

Then join hand in hand, brave Americans all! By uniting we stand, by dividing we fall.

John Dickinson (delegate)|John Dickinson, The Liberty Song|The Liberty Song

Every revolution was first a thought in one man's mind; and when the same thought occurs to another man, it is the key to that era.

Ralph Waldo Emerson, Essays: First Series, 1841

The succeessful revolutionary is a statesman, the unsuccessful one a criminal.

Erich Fromm Escape from Freedom, 1941

Encyclopedia
A revolution is a fundamental change
Social change
Social change refers to an alteration in the social order of a society. It may refer to the notion of social progress or sociocultural evolution, the philosophical idea that society moves forward by dialectical or evolutionary means. It may refer to a paradigmatic change in the socio-economic...

 in power or organizational structures that takes place in a relatively short period of time.
Aristotle
Aristotle
Aristotle was a Greek philosopher and polymath, a student of Plato and teacher of Alexander the Great. His writings cover many subjects, including physics, metaphysics, poetry, theater, music, logic, rhetoric, linguistics, politics, government, ethics, biology, and zoology...

 described two types of political revolution:
  1. Complete change from one constitution to another
  2. Modification of an existing constitution.

Revolutions have occurred through human history and vary widely in terms of methods, duration, and motivating ideology
Ideology
An ideology is a set of ideas that constitutes one's goals, expectations, and actions. An ideology can be thought of as a comprehensive vision, as a way of looking at things , as in common sense and several philosophical tendencies , or a set of ideas proposed by the dominant class of a society to...

. Their results include major changes in culture
Culture
Culture is a term that has many different inter-related meanings. For example, in 1952, Alfred Kroeber and Clyde Kluckhohn compiled a list of 164 definitions of "culture" in Culture: A Critical Review of Concepts and Definitions...

, economy
Economy
An economy consists of the economic system of a country or other area; the labor, capital and land resources; and the manufacturing, trade, distribution, and consumption of goods and services of that area...

, and socio-political institutions.

Scholarly debates about what does and does not constitute a revolution center around several issues. Early studies of revolutions primarily analyzed events in European history from a psychological perspective, but more modern examinations include global events and incorporate perspectives from several social sciences, including sociology
Sociology
Sociology is the study of society. It is a social science—a term with which it is sometimes synonymous—which uses various methods of empirical investigation and critical analysis to develop a body of knowledge about human social activity...

 and political science
Political science
Political Science is a social science discipline concerned with the study of the state, government and politics. Aristotle defined it as the study of the state. It deals extensively with the theory and practice of politics, and the analysis of political systems and political behavior...

. Several generations of scholarly thought on revolutions have generated many competing theories and contributed much to the current understanding of this complex phenomenon.

Etymology

Copernicus named his 1543 treatise on the movements of planets around the sun De revolutionibus orbium coelestium (On the Revolutions of Celestial Bodies) and this has come to be the model type of a scientific revolution
Scientific revolution
The Scientific Revolution is an era associated primarily with the 16th and 17th centuries during which new ideas and knowledge in physics, astronomy, biology, medicine and chemistry transformed medieval and ancient views of nature and laid the foundations for modern science...

. However "Revolution" is attested by at least 1450 in the sense of representing abrupt change in a social order
Social order
Social order is a concept used in sociology, history and other social sciences. It refers to a set of linked social structures, social institutions and social practices which conserve, maintain and enforce "normal" ways of relating and behaving....

. Political usage of the term had been well established by 1688 in the description of the replacement of James II
James II of England
James II & VII was King of England and King of Ireland as James II and King of Scotland as James VII, from 6 February 1685. He was the last Catholic monarch to reign over the Kingdoms of England, Scotland, and Ireland...

 with William III. The process was termed "The Glorious Revolution". Apparently the sense of social change and the geometric sense as in "Surface of revolution
Surface of revolution
A surface of revolution is a surface in Euclidean space created by rotating a curve around a straight line in its plane ....

" developed in various European languages from the Latin
Latin
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

 between the 14th and 17th centuries, the former developing as a metaphor from the latter. "Revolt" as an event designation appears after the process term and is given a related but distinct and later derivation.

Types

There are many different typologies of revolutions in social science and literature. For example, classical scholar Alexis de Tocqueville
Alexis de Tocqueville
Alexis-Charles-Henri Clérel de Tocqueville was a French political thinker and historian best known for his Democracy in America and The Old Regime and the Revolution . In both of these works, he explored the effects of the rising equality of social conditions on the individual and the state in...

 differentiated between 1) political revolution
Political revolution
A political revolution, in the Trotskyist theory, is an upheaval in which the government is replaced, or the form of government altered, but in which property relations are predominantly left intact...

s 2) sudden and violent revolutions that seek not only to establish a new political system but to transform an entire society and 3) slow but sweeping transformations of the entire society that take several generations to bring about (ex. religion
Religion
Religion is a collection of cultural systems, belief systems, and worldviews that establishes symbols that relate humanity to spirituality and, sometimes, to moral values. Many religions have narratives, symbols, traditions and sacred histories that are intended to give meaning to life or to...

). One of several different Marxist typologies divides revolutions into pre-capitalist, early bourgeois, bourgeois, bourgeois-democratic, early proletarian, and socialist revolutions.

Charles Tilly
Charles Tilly
Charles Tilly was an American sociologist, political scientist, and historian who wrote on the relationship between politics and society. He was the Joseph L. Buttenwieser Professor of Social Science at Columbia University....

, a modern scholar of revolutions, differentiated between a coup, a top-down seizure of power, a civil war
Civil war
A civil war is a war between organized groups within the same nation state or republic, or, less commonly, between two countries created from a formerly-united nation state....

, a revolt and a "great revolution" (revolutions that transform economic and social structures as well as political institutions, such as the French Revolution
French Revolution
The French Revolution , sometimes distinguished as the 'Great French Revolution' , was a period of radical social and political upheaval in France and Europe. The absolute monarchy that had ruled France for centuries collapsed in three years...

 of 1789, Russian Revolution of 1917
Russian Revolution of 1917
The Russian Revolution is the collective term for a series of revolutions in Russia in 1917, which destroyed the Tsarist autocracy and led to the creation of the Soviet Union. The Tsar was deposed and replaced by a provisional government in the first revolution of February 1917...

, or Islamic Revolution of Iran).

Other types of revolution, created for other typologies, include the social revolution
Social revolution
The term social revolution may have different connotations depending on the speaker.In the Trotskyist movement, the term "social revolution" refers to an upheaval in which existing property relations are smashed...

s; proletarian
Proletarian revolution
A proletarian revolution is a social and/or political revolution in which the working class attempts to overthrow the bourgeoisie. Proletarian revolutions are generally advocated by socialists, communists, and most anarchists....

 or communist revolution
Communist revolution
A communist revolution is a proletarian revolution inspired by the ideas of Marxism that aims to replace capitalism with communism, typically with socialism as an intermediate stage...

s inspired by the ideas of Marxism that aims to replace capitalism
Capitalism
Capitalism is an economic system that became dominant in the Western world following the demise of feudalism. There is no consensus on the precise definition nor on how the term should be used as a historical category...

 with communism
Communism
Communism is a social, political and economic ideology that aims at the establishment of a classless, moneyless, revolutionary and stateless socialist society structured upon common ownership of the means of production...

); failed or abortive revolutions (revolutions that fail to secure power after temporary victories or large-scale mobilization) or violent vs. nonviolent revolution
Nonviolent revolution
A nonviolent revolution is a revolution using mostly campaigns of civil resistance, including various forms of nonviolent protest, to bring about the departure of governments seen as entrenched and authoritarian...

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
Society
A society, or a human society, is a group of people related to each other through persistent relations, or a large social grouping sharing the same geographical or virtual territory, subject to the same political authority and dominant cultural expectations...

, culture
Culture
Culture is a term that has many different inter-related meanings. For example, in 1952, Alfred Kroeber and Clyde Kluckhohn compiled a list of 164 definitions of "culture" in Culture: A Critical Review of Concepts and Definitions...

, philosophy
Philosophy
Philosophy is the study of general and fundamental problems, such as those connected with existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind, and language. Philosophy is distinguished from other ways of addressing such problems by its critical, generally systematic approach and its reliance on rational...

 and technology
Technology
Technology is the making, usage, and knowledge of tools, machines, techniques, crafts, systems or methods of organization in order to solve a problem or perform a specific function. It can also refer to the collection of such tools, machinery, and procedures. The word technology comes ;...

 much more than political system
Political system
A political system is a system of politics and government. It is usually compared to the legal system, economic system, cultural system, and other social systems...

s; they are often known as social revolution
Social revolution
The term social revolution may have different connotations depending on the speaker.In the Trotskyist movement, the term "social revolution" refers to an upheaval in which existing property relations are smashed...

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
Industrial Revolution
The Industrial Revolution was a period from the 18th to the 19th century where major changes in agriculture, manufacturing, mining, transportation, and technology had a profound effect on the social, economic and cultural conditions of the times...

 (note that such revolutions also fit the "slow revolution" definition of Tocqueville).

Political and socioeconomic revolutions

Perhaps most often, the word 'revolution' is employed to denote a change in socio-political institutions. Jeff Goodwin
Jeff Goodwin
Jeff Goodwin is a professor of sociology at New York University. He holds a BA, MA and PhD from Harvard University.His research interests include visual sociology, social movements, revolutions, political violence, and terrorism...

 gives two definitions of a revolution. A broad one, where revolution is

and a narrow one, in which

Jack Goldstone
Jack Goldstone
Jack A. Goldstone is an American sociologist and political scientist, specializing in studies of social movements, revolutions, and international politics. According to Peter Turchin , he made a significant contribution to the development of cliodynamics...

 defines them as

Political and socioeconomic revolutions have been studied in many social sciences
Social sciences
Social science is the field of study concerned with society. "Social science" is commonly used as an umbrella term to refer to a plurality of fields outside of the natural sciences usually exclusive of the administrative or managerial sciences...

, particularly sociology
Sociology
Sociology is the study of society. It is a social science—a term with which it is sometimes synonymous—which uses various methods of empirical investigation and critical analysis to develop a body of knowledge about human social activity...

, political science
Political science
Political Science is a social science discipline concerned with the study of the state, government and politics. Aristotle defined it as the study of the state. It deals extensively with the theory and practice of politics, and the analysis of political systems and political behavior...

s and history
History
History is the discovery, collection, organization, and presentation of information about past events. History can also mean the period of time after writing was invented. Scholars who write about history are called historians...

. Among the leading scholars in that area have been or are Crane Brinton
Crane Brinton
Clarence Crane Brinton was an American historian of France, as well as an historian of ideas...

, Charles Brockett, Farideh Farhi, John Foran
John Foran (sociologist)
John Foran is an American sociologist with research interests in social movements, revolutions, and radical social change; Third World cultural studies; and Latin American and Middle Eastern studies...

, John Mason Hart, Samuel Huntington
Samuel P. Huntington
Samuel Phillips Huntington was an influential American political scientist who wrote highly-regarded books in a half-dozen sub-fields of political science, starting in 1957...

, Jack Goldstone
Jack Goldstone
Jack A. Goldstone is an American sociologist and political scientist, specializing in studies of social movements, revolutions, and international politics. According to Peter Turchin , he made a significant contribution to the development of cliodynamics...

, Jeff Goodwin
Jeff Goodwin
Jeff Goodwin is a professor of sociology at New York University. He holds a BA, MA and PhD from Harvard University.His research interests include visual sociology, social movements, revolutions, political violence, and terrorism...

, Ted Roberts Gurr, Fred Halliday
Fred Halliday
Frederick Halliday, FBA was an Irish writer and academic specialising in International Relations and the Middle East, with particular reference to the Cold War, Iran, and the Arabian peninsula.-Biography:Born in Dublin, Ireland in 1946 to an English father, businessman Arthur Halliday, and an...

, Chalmers Johnson
Chalmers Johnson
Chalmers Ashby Johnson was an American author and professor emeritus of the University of California, San Diego. He served in the Korean War, was a consultant for the CIA from 1967–1973, and chaired the Center for Chinese Studies at the University of California, Berkeley from 1967 to 1972...

, Tim McDaniel, Barrington Moore, Jeffery Paige, Vilfredo Pareto
Vilfredo Pareto
Vilfredo Federico Damaso Pareto , born Wilfried Fritz Pareto, was an Italian engineer, sociologist, economist, political scientist and philosopher. He made several important contributions to economics, particularly in the study of income distribution and in the analysis of individuals' choices....

, Terence Ranger
Terence Ranger
Terence Osborn Ranger is a prominent African historian, focusing on the history of Zimbabwe. Part of the post-colonial generation of historians, his work spans the pre- and post-Independence period in Zimbabwe, from the 1960s to the present....

, Eugen Rosenstock-Huessy
Eugen Rosenstock-Huessy
Eugen Rosenstock-Huessy was a historian and social philosopher, whose work spanned the disciplines of history, theology, sociology, linguistics and beyond...

, Theda Skocpol
Theda Skocpol
Theda Skocpol is an American sociologist and political scientist at Harvard University. She served from 2005 to 2007 as Dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. She is influential in sociology as an advocate of the historical-institutional and comparative approaches, and well-known in...

, James Scott
James C. Scott
James C. Scott is Sterling Professor of Political Science, formerly Eugene Meyer Professor of Political Science and Anthropology at Yale University. He is also the director of the Program in Agrarian Studies. By training, he is a southeast Asianist.- Research topics :James Scott's work focuses...

, Eric Selbin, Charles Tilly
Charles Tilly
Charles Tilly was an American sociologist, political scientist, and historian who wrote on the relationship between politics and society. He was the Joseph L. Buttenwieser Professor of Social Science at Columbia University....

, Ellen Kay Trimbringer, Carlos Vistas, John Walton, Timothy Wickham-Crowley and Eric Wolf
Eric Wolf
Eric Robert Wolf was an anthropologist, best known for his studies of peasants, Latin America, and his advocacy of Marxian perspectives within anthropology.-Early life:...

.

Scholars of revolutions, like Jack Goldstone
Jack Goldstone
Jack A. Goldstone is an American sociologist and political scientist, specializing in studies of social movements, revolutions, and international politics. According to Peter Turchin , he made a significant contribution to the development of cliodynamics...

, differentiate four current 'generations' of scholarly research dealing with revolutions. The scholars of the first generation such as Gustave Le Bon
Gustave Le Bon
Gustave Le Bon was a French social psychologist, sociologist, and amateur physicist...

, Charles A. Ellwood
Charles A. Ellwood
Charles A. Ellwood was one of the leading American sociologists of the interwar period, studying intolerance, communication and revolutions and using many multidisciplinary methods. He argued that sociology should play a role in directing cultural evolution through education of society...

 or Pitirim Sorokin
Pitirim Sorokin
Pitirim Alexandrovich Sorokin was a Russian-American sociologist born in Komi . Academic and political activist in Russia, he emigrated from Russia to the United States in 1923. He founded the Department of Sociology at Harvard University. He was a vocal opponent of Talcott Parsons' theories...

, were mainly descriptive in their approach, and their explanations of the phenomena of revolutions was usually related to social psychology
Social psychology
Social psychology is the scientific study of how people's thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are influenced by the actual, imagined, or implied presence of others. By this definition, scientific refers to the empirical method of investigation. The terms thoughts, feelings, and behaviors include all...

, such as Le Bon's crowd psychology
Crowd psychology
Crowd psychology is a branch of social psychology. Ordinary people can typically gain direct power by acting collectively. Historically, because large groups of people have been able to bring about dramatic and sudden social change in a manner that bypasses established due process, they have also...

 theory.

Second generation theorists sought to develop detailed theories
Theory
The English word theory was derived from a technical term in Ancient Greek philosophy. The word theoria, , meant "a looking at, viewing, beholding", and referring to contemplation or speculation, as opposed to action...

 of why and when revolutions arise, grounded in more complex social behavior
Social behavior
In physics, physiology and sociology, social behavior is behavior directed towards society, or taking place between, members of the same species. Behavior such as predation which involves members of different species is not social...

 theories. They can be divided into three major approaches: psychological, sociological and political.

The works of Ted Robert Gurr
Ted Robert Gurr
Ted Robert Gurr is one of the world’s leading authorities on political conflict and instability. His book Why Men Rebel emphasized the importance of social psychological factors and ideology as root sources of political violence...

, 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
Cognitive psychology is a subdiscipline of psychology exploring internal mental processes.It is the study of how people perceive, remember, think, speak, and solve problems.Cognitive psychology differs from previous psychological approaches in two key ways....

 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
Modernization
In the social sciences, modernization or modernisation refers to a model of an evolutionary transition from a 'pre-modern' or 'traditional' to a 'modern' society. The teleology of modernization is described in social evolutionism theories, existing as a template that has been generally followed by...

, recession
Recession
In economics, a recession is a business cycle contraction, a general slowdown in economic activity. During recessions, many macroeconomic indicators vary in a similar way...

 or discrimination
Discrimination
Discrimination is the prejudicial treatment of an individual based on their membership in a certain group or category. It involves the actual behaviors towards groups such as excluding or restricting members of one group from opportunities that are available to another group. The term began to be...

), 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 Johnson
Chalmers Ashby Johnson was an American author and professor emeritus of the University of California, San Diego. He served in the Korean War, was a consultant for the CIA from 1967–1973, and chaired the Center for Chinese Studies at the University of California, Berkeley from 1967 to 1972...

, Neil Smelser
Neil Smelser
Neil Joseph Smelser is an emeritus professor of sociology at the University of California, Berkeley. He was an active researcher from 1958 to 1994. His research has been on collective behavior....

, Bob Jessop
Bob Jessop
Bob Jessop is a British academic and writer who has published extensively on state theory and political economy. He is currently Distinguished Professor of Sociology at the University of Lancaster.-Work:...

, Mark Hart
Mark Hart
Mark Hart , is a multi-instrumentalist best known for his participation as a member of Supertramp and Crowded House....

, Edward A. Tiryakian, Mark Hagopian, followed in the footsteps of Talcott Parsons
Talcott Parsons
Talcott Parsons was an American sociologist who served on the faculty of Harvard University from 1927 to 1973....

 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
Charles Tilly was an American sociologist, political scientist, and historian who wrote on the relationship between politics and society. He was the Joseph L. Buttenwieser Professor of Social Science at Columbia University....

, Samuel P. Huntington
Samuel P. Huntington
Samuel Phillips Huntington was an influential American political scientist who wrote highly-regarded books in a half-dozen sub-fields of political science, starting in 1957...

, Peter Ammann
Peter Ammann
Peter Ammann is a Swiss sprint canoer who competed in the early to mid 1980s. At the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow, he was eliminated in the repechages of the K-2 500 m event and the semifinals of the K-2 1000 m event...

 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
Power Struggle
"Power Struggle" is a song by the British industrial music/hard rock band Sunna- Track listing :#"Power Struggle " - 4:02#"Guinea Pig People" - 3:00#"Weather Controller" - 5:57-Chart positions:SinglePower Struggle...

 between competing interest groups
Advocacy group
Advocacy groups use various forms of advocacy to influence public opinion and/or policy; they have played and continue to play an important part in the development of political and social systems...

. In such a model, revolutions happen when two or more groups cannot come to terms within a normal decision making
Decision making
Decision making can be regarded as the mental processes resulting in the selection of a course of action among several alternative scenarios. Every decision making process produces a final choice. The output can be an action or an opinion of choice.- Overview :Human performance in decision terms...

 process traditional for a given political system
Political system
A political system is a system of politics and government. It is usually compared to the legal system, economic system, cultural system, and other social systems...

, and simultaneously have enough resources to employ force
Force
In physics, a force is any influence that causes an object to undergo a change in speed, a change in direction, or a change in shape. In other words, a force is that which can cause an object with mass to change its velocity , i.e., to accelerate, or which can cause a flexible object to deform...

 in pursuing their goals.

The second generation theorists saw the development of the revolutions as a two-step process; first, some change
Social change
Social change refers to an alteration in the social order of a society. It may refer to the notion of social progress or sociocultural evolution, the philosophical idea that society moves forward by dialectical or evolutionary means. It may refer to a paradigmatic change in the socio-economic...

 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 (ex. a war
War
War is a state of organized, armed, and often prolonged conflict carried on between states, nations, or other parties typified by extreme aggression, social disruption, and usually high mortality. War should be understood as an actual, intentional and widespread armed conflict between political...

, a riot
Riot
A riot is a form of civil disorder characterized often by what is thought of as disorganized groups lashing out in a sudden and intense rash of violence against authority, property or people. While individuals may attempt to lead or control a riot, riots are thought to be typically chaotic and...

, a bad harvest
Harvest
Harvest is the process of gathering mature crops from the fields. Reaping is the cutting of grain or pulse for harvest, typically using a scythe, sickle, or reaper...

), now is sufficient – however if authorities are aware of the danger, they can still prevent a revolution (through reform
Reform
Reform means to put or change into an improved form or condition; to amend or improve by change of color or removal of faults or abuses, beneficial change, more specifically, reversion to a pure original state, to repair, restore or to correct....

 or repression
Political repression
Political repression is the persecution of an individual or group for political reasons, particularly for the purpose of restricting or preventing their ability to take political life of society....

).

Many such early studies of revolutions tended to concentrate on four classic cases—famous and uncontroversial examples that fit virtually all definitions of revolutions, like the Glorious Revolution
Glorious Revolution
The Glorious Revolution, also called the Revolution of 1688, is the overthrow of King James II of England by a union of English Parliamentarians with the Dutch stadtholder William III of Orange-Nassau...

 (1688), the French Revolution
French Revolution
The French Revolution , sometimes distinguished as the 'Great French Revolution' , was a period of radical social and political upheaval in France and Europe. The absolute monarchy that had ruled France for centuries collapsed in three years...

 (1789–1799), the Russian Revolution of 1917
Russian Revolution of 1917
The Russian Revolution is the collective term for a series of revolutions in Russia in 1917, which destroyed the Tsarist autocracy and led to the creation of the Soviet Union. The Tsar was deposed and replaced by a provisional government in the first revolution of February 1917...

 and the Chinese Revolution
Chinese Civil War
The Chinese Civil War was a civil war fought between the Kuomintang , the governing party of the Republic of China, and the Communist Party of China , for the control of China which eventually led to China's division into two Chinas, Republic of China and People's Republic of...

 (1927–1949). In his famous "The Anatomy of Revolution
The Anatomy of Revolution
The Anatomy of Revolution is a book by Crane Brinton outlining the "uniformities" of four major political revolutions: the English Revolution of the 1640s, the American, the French, and 1917 Russian Revolution. Brinton notes how the revolutions followed a life-cycle from the Old Order to a moderate...

", however, the eminent Harvard historian, Crane Brinton
Crane Brinton
Clarence Crane Brinton was an American historian of France, as well as an historian of ideas...

, focused on the English Civil War
English Civil War
The English Civil War was a series of armed conflicts and political machinations between Parliamentarians and Royalists...

, the American Revolution
American Revolution
The American Revolution was the political upheaval during the last half of the 18th century in which thirteen colonies in North America joined together to break free from the British Empire, combining to become the United States of America...

, 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
Empirical
The word empirical denotes information gained by means of observation or experimentation. Empirical data are data produced by an experiment or observation....

 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
Theda Skocpol is an American sociologist and political scientist at Harvard University. She served from 2005 to 2007 as Dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. She is influential in sociology as an advocate of the historical-institutional and comparative approaches, and well-known in...

, Barrington Moore, Jeffrey Paige and others expanding on the old Marxist
Marxism
Marxism is an economic and sociopolitical worldview and method of socioeconomic inquiry that centers upon a materialist interpretation of history, a dialectical view of social change, and an analysis and critique of the development of capitalism. Marxism was pioneered in the early to mid 19th...

 class conflict
Class conflict
Class conflict is the tension or antagonism which exists in society due to competing socioeconomic interests between people of different classes....

 approach, turning their attention to rural agrarian-state conflicts, state conflicts with autonomous elites and the impact of interstate economic and military
Military
A military is an organization authorized by its greater society to use lethal force, usually including use of weapons, in defending its country by combating actual or perceived threats. The military may have additional functions of use to its greater society, such as advancing a political agenda e.g...

 competition on domestic political change. Particularly Skocpol's States and Social Revolutions
States and Social Revolutions
States and Social Revolutions: A Comparative Analysis of France, Russia and China is a 1979 book by political scientist and sociologist Theda Skocpol, published by Cambridge University Press and explaining the causes of revolutions through the structural functionalism sociological paradigm...

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 explain by them. The Iranian
Iranian Revolution
The Iranian Revolution refers to events involving the overthrow of Iran's monarchy under Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi and its replacement with an Islamic republic under Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the leader of the...

 and Nicaraguan Revolution
Nicaraguan Revolution
The Nicaraguan Revolution encompasses the rising opposition to the Somoza dictatorship in the 1960s and 1970s, the campaign led by the Sandinista National Liberation Front which led to the violent ousting of that dictatorship in 1979, and the...

s of 1979, the 1986 People Power Revolution in the Philippines
Philippines
The Philippines , officially known as the Republic of the Philippines , is a country in Southeast Asia in the western Pacific Ocean. To its north across the Luzon Strait lies Taiwan. West across the South China Sea sits Vietnam...

 and the 1989 Autumn of Nations in Europe saw multi-class coalitions topple seemingly powerful regimes amidst popular demonstrations and mass strikes
General strike
A general strike is a strike action by a critical mass of the labour force in a city, region, or country. While a general strike can be for political goals, economic goals, or both, it tends to gain its momentum from the ideological or class sympathies of the participants...

 in nonviolent revolution
Nonviolent revolution
A nonviolent revolution is a revolution using mostly campaigns of civil resistance, including various forms of nonviolent protest, to bring about the departure of governments seen as entrenched and authoritarian...

s.

Defining revolutions as mostly European violent state versus people and class struggle
Class struggle
Class struggle is the active expression of a class conflict looked at from any kind of socialist perspective. Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels wrote "The [written] history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggle"....

s conflicts was no longer sufficient. The study of revolutions thus evolved in three directions, firstly, some researchers were applying previous or updated structuralist
Structuralism
Structuralism originated in the structural linguistics of Ferdinand de Saussure and the subsequent Prague and Moscow schools of linguistics. Just as structural linguistics was facing serious challenges from the likes of Noam Chomsky and thus fading in importance in linguistics, structuralism...

 theories of revolutions to events beyond the previously analyzed, mostly European conflicts. Secondly, scholars called for greater attention to conscious agency in the form of ideology
Ideology
An ideology is a set of ideas that constitutes one's goals, expectations, and actions. An ideology can be thought of as a comprehensive vision, as a way of looking at things , as in common sense and several philosophical tendencies , or a set of ideas proposed by the dominant class of a society to...

 and culture
Culture
Culture is a term that has many different inter-related meanings. For example, in 1952, Alfred Kroeber and Clyde Kluckhohn compiled a list of 164 definitions of "culture" in Culture: A Critical Review of Concepts and Definitions...

 in shaping revolutionary mobilization
Mobilization
Mobilization is the act of assembling and making both troops and supplies ready for war. The word mobilization was first used, in a military context, in order to describe the preparation of the Prussian army during the 1850s and 1860s. Mobilization theories and techniques have continuously changed...

 and objectives. Third, analysts of both revolutions and social movement
Social movement
Social movements are a type of group action. They are large informal groupings of individuals or organizations focused on specific political or social issues, in other words, on carrying out, resisting or undoing a social change....

s realized that those phenomena have much in common, and a new 'fourth generation' literature on contentious politics
Contentious politics
Contentious politics is the use of disruptive techniques to make a political point, or to change government policy. Examples of such techniques are actions that disturb the normal activities of society such as demonstrations, general strike action, riot, terrorism, civil disobedience, and even...

 has developed that attempts to combine insights from the study of social movements and revolutions in hopes of understanding both phenomena.

While revolutions encompass events ranging from the relatively peaceful revolutions that overthrew communist regimes
Revolutions of 1989
The Revolutions of 1989 were the revolutions which overthrew the communist regimes in various Central and Eastern European countries.The events began in Poland in 1989, and continued in Hungary, East Germany, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia and...

 to the violent Islamic revolution in Afghanistan, they exclude coups d'états
Coup d'état
A coup d'état state, literally: strike/blow of state)—also known as a coup, putsch, and overthrow—is the sudden, extrajudicial deposition of a government, usually by a small group of the existing state establishment—typically the military—to replace the deposed government with another body; either...

, civil war
Civil war
A civil war is a war between organized groups within the same nation state or republic, or, less commonly, between two countries created from a formerly-united nation state....

s, revolts and rebellions
Rebellion
Rebellion, uprising or insurrection, is a refusal of obedience or order. It may, therefore, be seen as encompassing a range of behaviors aimed at destroying or replacing an established authority such as a government or a head of state...

 that make no effort to transform institutions or the justification for authority (such as Józef Piłsudski's May Coup of 1926 or the American Civil War
American Civil War
The American Civil War was a civil war fought in the United States of America. In response to the election of Abraham Lincoln as President of the United States, 11 southern slave states declared their secession from the United States and formed the Confederate States of America ; the other 25...

), as well as peaceful transitions to democracy
Democracy
Democracy is generally defined as a form of government in which all adult citizens have an equal say in the decisions that affect their lives. Ideally, this includes equal participation in the proposal, development and passage of legislation into law...

 through institutional arrangements such as plebiscites and free elections, as in Spain
Spain
Spain , officially the Kingdom of Spain languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Spain's official name is as follows:;;;;;;), is a country and member state of the European Union located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula...

 after the death of Francisco Franco
Francisco Franco
Francisco Franco y Bahamonde was a Spanish general, dictator and head of state of Spain from October 1936 , and de facto regent of the nominally restored Kingdom of Spain from 1947 until his death in November, 1975...

.

Lists of revolutions

For a list of revolutions see:

See also

  • Political Warfare
    Political warfare
    Political warfare is the use of political means to compel an opponent to do one's will, based on hostile intent. The term political describes the calculated interaction between one's government and a target audience to include another country's government, military, and/or general population...

  • Psychological warfare
    Psychological warfare
    Psychological warfare , or the basic aspects of modern psychological operations , have been known by many other names or terms, including Psy Ops, Political Warfare, “Hearts and Minds,” and Propaganda...

  • Rebellion
    Rebellion
    Rebellion, uprising or insurrection, is a refusal of obedience or order. It may, therefore, be seen as encompassing a range of behaviors aimed at destroying or replacing an established authority such as a government or a head of state...

  • Revolutionary wave
    Revolutionary wave
    A revolutionary wave is a series of revolutions occurring in various locations in a similar time period. In many cases, an initial revolution inspires other "affiliate revolutions" with similar aims....

  • Right of revolution
    Right of revolution
    In political philosophy, the right of revolution is the right or duty, variously stated throughout history, of the people of a nation to overthrow a government that acts against their common interests...

  • Subversion
    Subversion
    Apache Subversion is a software versioning and a revision control system distributed under a free license. Developers use Subversion to maintain current and historical versions of files such as source code, web pages, and documentation...


External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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