Political Science and Modern
• Instances in which state or political regime is overthrown by a popular
movement in irregular fashion.
• The rapid, fundamental, and often violent transformation of a country’s
state, structure, social structure, that is accompanied and caused by
mass-based revolts from below – In Class Definition.
o State Transformation – Destruction of old army, and a creation of
a new one.
o Social Structure Transformation – Large-scale nationalization of
private property, major land reform, and destruction of land owning
class. Religion is included in this.
• Examples of Revolutions are France in 1789, Russia in 1917, China in
1949, Cuba in 1959, and Iran in 1979.
Characteristics of Revolutions
• Violence Smashing class and state is not easy without violence.
• Rare they do not happen often, as they need coordinating.
• They create durable regimes USSR (74 years).
• Foster new ideas Communism, Nationalism, etc.
Explaining Revolutions (Structural)
1. Poverty or Misery:
a. Under certain conditions, people are pushed to the point where
they can’t take it anymore. People have nothing to lose but their
chains. Misery usually breeds passivity, or a focus on survival.
Poorer people usually have less education, which may result in
more violent solutions.
2. Relative Deprivation:
a. People tend to focus on relative misery rather than absolute misery
(If the people around you are richer, you tend to get angry). An
example of this is the Toronto Garbage Strike in 2010. They didn’t
get enough sick days, so they got angry.
b. A J-Curve is when there is steady growth and then people are set
over the edge (Boston red-sox doing well but getting angry when
they don’t win the World Series). This is a structuralism theory 3. Marxist Theory:
a. This is a class-based analysis. Actions and beliefs are rooted in
position in economic hierarchy (haves vs. have-nots). People don’t
give up what they have without a fight.
b. The Bourgeois Revolution is based on your wealth by land
ownership and religion. Capitalism then overthrows aristocracy (as
seen in France), then the commercial interest reigns supreme.
c. A Com