• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Assess The Success Of Attempts To Develop Comparative Theories Of Revolutions.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Assess The Success Of Attempts To Develop Comparative Theories Of Revolutions The social revolutions that have occurred spasmodically throughout history are an important area of study, forming a distinct and drastic pattern of sociological change.. Unique to social revolutions is that basic changes in social structure and political structure occur together in a mutually reinforcing pattern, and it can be asserted with a fair degree of accuracy that changes occur through socio-political conflicts in which class struggles do play a role. In studying revolutions, the use of theory has been employed in an attempt to provide an explanation (within a context) that enables us to predict for the future which consequences should follow which events. Theories over the causes, course and consequences of revolution have developed significantly; early theories becoming limited in their aims and objectives. Instead, today comparative historical methods are a major influence on theoretical interpretation of revolution that gives breadth from the use of examples. The main difficulty encountered by historians in attempting to generalise revolutions using the theoretical approach has been the failure to test and modify explanations in light of subsequent historical cases. ...read more.

Middle

Wolfenstein's theory, which sought to explain revolution in terms of personality have also failed as it is not possible to apply clinical methods to past political leaders and it appears only valuable to look at the role of leader in a wider social context. Having said this, Gurr's ideas of relative deprivation do help in understanding a major aspect of revolution in giving a greater insight into what gives rise to discontent. Systems/Value Consensus theories explain revolutions as violent responses of ideological movements to severe disequilibrium in social systems. Chalmers Johnson's Revolutionary Change theory sees revolution as 'the purposive implementation of a strategy of violence in order to effect a change in social structure' that will change core-value orientations, which have become out of balance between the state and its institutions and the people. A successful revolution will accomplish the resynchronisation of a social system's values and environment that the old regime was unable to accomplish. The other most significant approach to revolutions comes in political conflict theories the most important of these being Charles Tilly's From mobilization to Revolution. This theory puts the conflict between government and opposing groups at the centre of it explanation of collective violence and revolution. ...read more.

Conclusion

The old regimes also had a number of broad similarities, in that all three revolutions occurred in wealthy and politically ambitious agrarian states. In revolution, all three cases saw the conjuncture of the incapacitation of the established central, widespread rebellion by the lower classes (particularly the peasantry), and attempts by mass-mobilising political leaderships to consolidate a revolutionary state. This again highlights the possibility for there to be consistent factors across revolutions - a large presumption that theories of revolution make. In light of this, and whilst paying significant attention to the key differences that also occur, it can be seen that, 'the similar socio-political features of the French, Russian and Chinese revolutions can be highlighted and explained in ways that would purposefully be missed by analysts determined to keep them in separate type categories'1. It is therefore clear that whilst general theoretical explanations of revolution can adapt to the many and varied forms necessary, they lack the applicability of grounded, specific case studies. It is a catch-22, in that neither can effectively be achieved without neglecting the other, but these theories have played a large part in sociological history, and this certainly, should not be ignored. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Political Philosophy section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Political Philosophy essays

  1. Utilitarianism: Explanation And Study of Criticisms

    actions would bring about the greatest happiness, then you could measure pleasure. The quantity of pleasure can be measured according to Bentham using the Hedonic Calculus. It does not matter if an action goes against the law, at least the result will be maximum pleasure.

  2. A Study of Carl Rogers' Theory of Personality

    alienation from the true self occurs, so there is organismic movement in one direction and conscious struggle in another. Rogers (1977) revised his previous thinking concerning this incongruence, stating that while he earlier saw the rift between self and experience as natural, while unfortunate, he now believes society, (particularly Western

  1. To what extent did the key political ideas directly Influence change and development in ...

    is not as easy as it sounds, it was almost inevitable that a dictatorship be formed as the people were more or less crying out for it. Hitler?s take on Fascism was far more extreme and committed than that of Mussolini?s.

  2. Free essay

    The emerge of Alliance 90

    Rousseau argues that the legitimacy of a representative body depends on its ability to serve as a reduced copy of the whole of the represented. 3. Symbolic representation: Representing also means symbolizing. A relationship of symbolic representation is based on an irrational belief that those represented have in the legitimacy of the representative.

  1. An analysis of the Marxist perspective on religion

    alienation, then within Communist society there should be no religious belief as the economy and politics are united. This means that there is no need for creation of other cultural forms to fill the gap left by the separation of these two systems.

  2. Socialist uses of workers' inquiry

    No matter how powerful the means of production which a capitalist may bring into the field, competition will make their adoption general; and from the moment that they have been generally adopted, the sole result of the greater productiveness of his capital will be that he must furnish at the same price, 10, 20, 100 times as much as before.

  1. Critically assess the value of the models of Frank, Rostow and Clark-Fisher in our ...

    Frank's views have been described significantly as 'strident' and have therefore attracted criticisms of his dependency theory. These generally state that many of the developing worlds were impoverished before the arrival of European colonists. However, it is hard to concisely decipher the precise meaning for impoverishes and to the extent that it is relevant.

  2. "Ideology played relatively small role in the revolutions of 1848" Discuss.

    The main ideology in opposition to the order established during the Congress of Vienna was often called 'liberalism'. This name indicates that the primary motive of it was to strive after freedom in contrary to dependence and restrictions forced on societies and individuals by absolute monarchs.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work