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Theory and Society

, Volume 44, Issue 4, pp 299–319 | Cite as

Revolutions and the international

  • George LawsonEmail author
Article

Abstract

Although contemporary theorists of revolution usually claim to be incorporating international dynamics in their analysis, “the international” remains a residual feature of revolutionary theory. For the most part, international processes are seen either as the facilitating context for revolutions or as the dependent outcome of revolutions. The result is an analytical bifurcation between international and domestic in which the former serves as the backdrop to the latter’s causal agency. This article demonstrates the benefits of a fuller engagement between revolutionary theory and “the international.” It does so in three steps: first, the article examines the ways in which contemporary revolutionary theory apprehends “the international”; second, it lays out the descriptive and analytical advantages of an “intersocietal” approach; and third, it traces the ways in which international dynamics help to constitute revolutionary situations, trajectories, and outcomes. In this way, revolutions are understood as “intersocietal” all the way down.

Keywords

Revolutionary theory International relations Intersocietal Revolutionary situations Revolutionary trajectories Revolutionary outcomes 

Notes

Acknowledgments

My thanks to the Theory and Society Editors and anonymous reviewers for their incisive comments on earlier drafts of this article—it is much improved as a result. Thanks also to participants at workshops at the London School of Economics, Yale University, and the University of Chicago, Beijing Center, who provided extremely helpful comments on the article as it was being developed. Particular thanks to Justin Rosenberg and Dingxin Zhao for extended discussion about this topic.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of International RelationsLondon School of Economics and Political ScienceLondonUK

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