Patters of revolution

Shugart, Matthew Soberg
March 1989
Theory & Society;Mar89, Vol. 18 Issue 2, p249
Academic Journal
This article discusses issues related to patterns of revolution as detailed in various books. By emphasizing old regime structures, Samuel P. Huntington in his "Political Order in Changing Societies," omits detailed consideration of social conditions and historical contexts. Although Robert H. Dix in his "Varieties of Revolutions," considers the social milieu of various revolutions, his typology does not apply beyond the cases for which it is developed. The author of this article attempts to identify patterns of revolution besides those Huntington and Dix have discussed and to suggest which factors determine the pattern a revolution takes in a given society. A given pattern of revolution refers to a given configuration of factors. A typology does not in itself constitute understanding, but may serve to highlight important configurations of factors. One such factor is the relative urbanization of the society. Rural grievances play a greater role in mobilization for revolution the less urbanized the society is at the time. Another factor is the presence or absence of lower-class revolts. The third primary factor is the nature of the military in the old regime. The author attempts to identify all the empirical configurations of the three factors: urbanization, presence of lower-class revolts, and disposition of the old regime's military.


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