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Toward a Theory of Revolution

James C. Davies
American Sociological Review
Vol. 27, No. 1 (Feb., 1962), pp. 5-19
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2089714
Page Count: 15
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Toward a Theory of Revolution
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Abstract

Revolutions are most likely to occur when a prolonged period of objective economic and social development is followed by a short period of sharp reversal. People then subjectively fear that ground gained with great effort will be quite lost; their mood becomes revolutionary. The evidence from Dorr's Rebellion, the Russian Revolution, and the Egyptian Revolution supports this notion; tentatively, so do data on other civil disturbances. Various statistics--as on rural uprisings, industrial strikes, unemployment, and cost of living--may serve as crude indexes of popular mood. More useful, though less easy to obtain, are direct questions in cross-sectional interviews. The goal of predicting revolution is conceived but not yet born or matured.

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