Revolutions of the 20th Century:
A Theoretical-Quantitative Analysis
Principal Researcher, Laboratory for Monitoring Risks of Socio-Political Destabilization of the Faculty of Social Sciences, National Research University Higher School of Economics; Leading Researcher, Institute of Oriental Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences, email@example.com
elibrary_id: 250272 | ORCID: 0000-0003-0278-2619 | RESEARCHER_ID: D-8842-2012
Principal Researcher, International Center for Education and Social and Humanitarian Research, firstname.lastname@example.org
elibrary_id: 866899 |
This article was prepared with the financial support of the Russian Science Foundation (project No. 18-18-00254).
There is abundant literature exploring twentieth-century revolutions, but there are still considerable gaps in terms of theoretical approaches to the typology of revolutions. Besides, the number of quantitative studies of twentieth-century revolutions in their totality is also insufficient. The present article suggests a theoretical and quantitative analysis of the revolutionary process of the 20th century. In the article we present an original typology of revolutions, and also introduce the notion of an analogue of revolution. The authors conduct an analysis of the general characteristics of twentieth-century revolutions, noting their differences from revolutions of the previous period (in particular, the shift of revolutionary activity from the heart of the World-system to its periphery). A new approach to distinguish waves of revolutions is introduced, comprising of the following criteria: 1) the existence of an objective common cause underlying the events within the World-System framework; 2) the number of revolutions should be not less than 4-5; at that a revolutionary wave should not include the events within one large state; 3) the time interval between the start of the first and the last revolutionary event should not be more than ten years; and 4) a chronological period should include only one revolutionary wave. These criteria allowed five waves to be distinguished. The first wave lasted from 1905 to 1911. The major reasons of these revolutions were connected with modernization in Turkey, Persia, China, and some other countries and related changes in their public consciousness. The second wave of 1917–1923 was connected with the results of World War I. The third wave of revolutions occurred in 1930–1938; its launching World-System event was the unprecedented world economic crisis of the Great Depression. The fourth wave of revolutions of 1943–1949 was associated with the outcomes of World War II. The fifth wave happened in 1989–1996 and comprised of the anti-communist revolutions in Eastern Europe and some republics of the USSR. The article presents a novel quantitative analysis of revolutions according to different definitions. We also describe a quantitative distribution of revolutions among the waves, and also perform another quantitative analysis of revolutionary events. Combined with a theoretical-quantitative analysis, all these allow for the development of new perspectives on the revolutionary process of the twentieth century.
Andreski S.L. 1988. A Typology of Revolutions from a Morphological Viewpoint. – International Journal on World Peace. Vol. 5. No. 1. P. 25-43. URL: https://www.jstor.org/stable/20751202?seq=1 (accessed 01.07.2020).
Arendt H. 2006. On Revolution. New York: Penguin Classics. 368 p.
Arjomand S.A. 1989. The Turban for the Crown: The Islamic Revolution in Iran. New York: Oxford University Press. 304 p.
Beck C.J. 2011. The World-Cultural Origins of Revolutionary Waves: Five Centuries of European Contention. – Social Science History. Vol. 35. No. 2. P. 167-207. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0145553200011482
Dix R. 1984. Why Revolutions Succeed and Fail. – Polity. Vol. 16. No. 3. P. 423-446.
Dunn J. 1989. Modern Revolutions: An Introduction to the Analysis of a Political Phenomenon. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. 384 p.
Farhi F. 1990. States and Urban-based Revolution: Iran and Nicaragua. Urbana, Chicago: University of Illinois Press. 147 p.
Foran J. 1992. A Theory of Third World Social Revolutions: Iran, Nicaragua, and El Salvador Compared. – Critical Sociology. Vol. 19. No. 2. P. 3-27. https://doi.org/10.1177/089692059201900201
Foran J. 1997. The Comparative-Historical Sociology of Third World Social Revolutions: Why a Few Succeed, Why Most Fail. – Theorizing Revolutions. Ed. by J. Foran. London, New York: Routledge. P. 227-267. https://doi.org/10.4324/9780203206638
Foran J. 2005. Taking Power: On the Origins of Third World Revolutions. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 410 p.
Foran J., Goodwin J. 1993. Revolutionary Outcomes in Iran and Nicaragua: Coalition Fragmentation, War, and the Limits of Social Transformation. – Theory and Society. Vol. 22. No. 2. P. 209-247. https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00993498
Goldstone J.A. 1991. Revolution and Rebellion in the Early Modern World. Berkeley: University of California Press. 608 p.
Goldstone J.A. 1994. Revolution in Modern Dictatorships. – Revolutions: Theoretical, Comparative, and Historical Studies. Ed. by J.A. Goldstone. Fort Worth, TX: Harcourt Brace College Publishers. P. 70-77.
Goldstone J.A. 2001. Toward a Fourth Generation of Revolutionary Theory. – Annual Review of Political Science. Vol. 4. P. 139-187. https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev.polisci.4.1.139
Goldstone J.A. 2002. The Longue Duree and Cycles of Revolt in European History. – Early Modern History and the Social Sciences. Testing the Limits of Braudel’s Mediterranean. Ed. by J.A. Marino. Kirksville, MO: Truman State University Press. P. 169-189.
Goldstone J.A. 2014. Revolutions. A Very Short Introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 168 p.
Goldstone J.A., Gurr T.R., Moshiri F. 1991. Revolutions of the Late Twentieth Century. Boulder, CO: Westview. 395 p.
Goodwin J., Skocpol T. 1989. Explaining Revolutions in the Contemporary Third World. – Politics & Society. Vol. 17. No. 4. P. 489-509. https://doi.org/10.1177/003232928901700403
Gurr T.R. 1988. War, Revolution, and the Growth of the Coercive State. – Comparative Political Studies. Vol. 21. No. 1. P. 45-65.
Halliday F. 2001. War and Revolution. – Revolution. International Dimensions. Ed. by M.N. Katz. Washington, DC: CQ Press. P. 63-74.
Huntington S.P. 1968. Political Order in Changing Societies. New Haven, CT; London: Yale University Press. 448 p.
Johnson V.D. 1993. The Structural Causes of Anticolonial Revolutions in Africa. – Alternatives: Global, Local, Political. Vol. 18. No. 2. P. 201-227. https://doi.org/10.2307/40644773
Katz M.N. 1997. Revolutions and Revolutionary Waves. New York: St. Martin’s Press. 192 p.
Keddie N.R., Richard Y. 1981. Roots of Revolution: An Interpretive History of Modern Iran. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press. 321 p.
Kim Q.-Y. 1996. From Protest to Change of Regime: The 4-19 Revolt and the Fall of the Rhee Regime in South Korea. – Social Forces. Vol. 74. No. 4. P. 1179-1208. https://doi.org/10.2307/2580348
Kurzman Ch. 2008. Democracy Denied, 1905-1915: Intellectuals and the Fate of Democracy. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. 404 p.
Lawson G. 2016. Within and Beyond the “Fourth Generation” of Revolutionary Theory. – Sociological Theory. Vol. 34. No. 2. P. 106–127. https://doi.org/10.1177/0735275116649221
Markoff J. 1994. The Great Wave of Democracy in Historical Perspective. – Western Societies Occasional Paper. No. 34. Ithaca, NY: Institute for European Studies, Cornell University, Cornell University Press. 87 p.
Markoff J. 1996. Waves of Democracy: Social Movements and Political Change. Thousand Oaks, CA: Pine Forge Press. 174 p.
McClintock C. 1998. Revolutionary Movements in Latin America: El Salvador’s FMLN and Peru’s Shining Path. Washington, DC: US Institute of Peace Press. 416 p.
Moghadam V.M. 1989. Populist Revolution and the Islamic States in Iran. – Revolution in the World-System. Ed. by T. Boswell, I.M. Wallerstein. New York: Greenwood Press. P. 147-163.
Revolutions in the Third World. 1991. Ed. by Kim Q.-Y. Leiden: Brill. 151 p.
Sanderson S.K. 2016. Revolutions. A Worldwide Introduction to Social and Political Contention. Second Edition. London: Routledge. 2016. 272 p.
Shugart M.S. 1989. Patterns of revolution. – Theory and Society. Vol. 18. No. 2. P. 249-271.
Selden M. 1995. China in Revolution: the Yenan Way Revisited. Armonk, NY: M.E. Sharpe. 294 p.
Skocpol T. 1979. States and Social Revolutions. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. 407 p.
Skocpol T. 1982. Rentier State and Shi’a Islam in the Iranian Revolution. – Theory and Society. Vol. 11. No. 3. P. 265-283.
Skocpol T. 1994. Social Revolutions in the Modern World. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. 368 p.
Snyder R.S. 1999. The U.S. and Third World Revolutionary States: Understanding the Breakdown in Relations. – International Studies Quarterly. Vol. 43. No. 2. P. 265-290.
Tarrow S. 1998. Power in Movement: Social Movements and Contentious Politics. Cambridge, MA:
Cambridge University Press. 271 p. https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511813245
Tilly Ch. 1992. Coercion, Capital and European States, A.D. 990 – 1992. Oxford, UK: Wiley-Blackwell. 284 p.
Tilly Ch. 1996. European Revolutions, 1492-1992. Cambridge, MA: Blackwell. 262 p.
Tucker R.C. 1969. The Marxian Revolutionary Idea. New York: W.W. Norton and Company. 260 p.
Von Laue T.H. 1964. Why Lenin? Why Stalin? A Reappraisal of the Russian Revolution, 1900-1930. Philadelphia: Lippincott. 242 p.
Walt S.M. 1997. Revolution and War. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press. 384 p.
Walt S.M. 2001. A Theory of Revolution and War. – Revolution. International Dimensions. Ed. by M.N. Katz. Washington, DC: CQ Press. P. 32-62.
Wickham-Crowley T.P. 1991. Exploring Revolution: Essays on Latin American Insurgency and Revoltionary Theory. Armonk, NY: Sharpe; Routledge. 256 p. https://doi.org/10.4324/9781315489971
Wickham-Crowley T.P. 1992. Guerrillas and Revolution in Latin America. A Comparative Study of Insurgents and Regimes since 1956. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. 424 p.
Zinkina J., Christian D., Grinin L., Ilyin I., Andreev A., Aleshkovski I., Shulgin S., Korotayev A. 2019.
A Big History of Globalization. The Emergence of a Global World System. Cham, Switzerland: Springer. 284 p. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-05707-7
Graziosi A. 2005. Guerra e rivoluzione in Europa, 1905-1956. (Russ. ed.: Graziosi A. Voina i revolyutsiya v Evrope: 1905-1956. Moscow: ROSSPEN. 288 p.)
Grinin L.Ye. 2017. The Russian Revolution and Modernization Traps. – Polis. Political Studies. No. 4. P. 138-155. (In Russ.) https://doi.org/10.17976/jpps/2017.04.10
Grinin L.E., Issaev L.M., Korotayev A.V. 2016. Revolyutsii i nestabil’nost’ na Blizhnem Vostoke [Revolutions and Instability in the Middle East]. 2nd ed. Moscow: Uchitel. 384 p. (In Russ.)
Hobsbawm E.J. 1999. The Age of Revolution: Europe, 1789–1848. (Russ. ed.: Hobsbawm E.J. Vek revolyutsii. Evropa 1789-1848. Rostov-na-Donu: Fenix. 480 p.)
Rozov N.S., Pustovoit Yu.A., Filippov S.I., Tsygankov V.V. 2019. Revolyutsionnye volny v ritmakh global’noi modernizatsii [Revolutionary Waves in the Rhythms of Global Modernization]. Moscow: URSS. 408 p. (In Russ.)
Shul’ts E. E. 2016. Teoriya revolyutsii: Revolyutsii i sovremennye tsivilizatsii [Theory of Revolution. Revolutions and Modern Civilizations]. Moscow: LENAND. 400 p. (In Russ.)
Sztompka P. 1996. Sociology of Social Change. (Russ. ed.: Sztompka P. Sotsiologiya sotsial’nykh izmenenii. Moscow: Aspect Press. 416 p.
Zinkina Ju.V., Grinin L.E., Ilyin I.V., Andreev A.I., Aleshkovski I.A., Shulgin S.G., Korotayev A.V. 2017. Istoricheskaya globalistika. T. 2. XIX vek [Historical Globalistics. Vol. 2. The Nineteenth Century]. Moscow: Moscow Branch of Uchitel Publishing House. 392 p. (In Russ.)
Goldstone J.A., Grinin L.Ye., Korotayev A.V.,
Waves of revolutions in the 21st century. – Polis. Political Studies. 2022. No4
Goldstone J.A., Grinin L.Ye., Ustyuzhanin V.V., Korotayev A.V.,
Revolutionary events of the 21st century: a preliminary quantitative analysis. – Polis. Political Studies. 2023. No4
On the Reasons and Meaning of Revolutions (Nikolai Rozov’s Version). – Polis. Political Studies. 2019. No6
The Vector of Russian 1917 Revolution: Modernization or Counter-Modernization?. – Polis. Political Studies. 2017. No2
The End of the Epoch of Revolutions: the Anti-Revolutionary Revolutions of 1989 to 1991. – Polis. Political Studies. 1998. No5