• 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

    However, to calculate the amount of pleasure produced by an action, there must be some way to determine the amount of pleasure gained. Bentham introduced the hedonic calculus to measure happiness: The pleasure produced depends on the seven circumstances in which pleasure occurs: Its intensity Its duration Its certainty Its propinquity (closeness)

  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

    Furthermore it uses the principle of dialectics, which is that both theses and antitheses should be used to arrive at a synthesis or conclusion. As can be seen the Marxist perspective on religion is not a straight-forward one, but a complex mix of various factors.

  2. Socialist uses of workers' inquiry

    The result is: the more he works, the less wages he receives. And for this simple reason: the more he works, the more he competes against his fellow workmen, the more he compels them to compete against him, and to offer themselves on the same wretched conditions as he does;

  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. A Study of Carl Rogers' Theory of Personality

    Maddi further suggests that the belief in inherent potentialities may lie in this theory's position as an offshoot of psychotherapy where it is useful for both client and therapist to have a belief in unlimited possibilities. However, applying this idea to all human beings in a theory of personality sets

  1. "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.

  2. T difficult for export orientated economics to sustain the land owning elites much longer. ...

    Brazil as being liberal; the term restricted democracy would be more applicable at this time. Cammack identifies this from Barrington Moore's model for economic development, by this, measures required for liberal democracy are not met and the examples that Cammack uses are that export orientated development (despite its success as an economic model)

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