Advertisement

Revolution as a Political Category

  • John DunnEmail author
Chapter
Part of the Radical Theologies and Philosophies book series (RADT)

Abstract

How should we understand why revolutions occur and have the consequences they do? How far does the category of revolution itself deepen or impede understanding of either their causes or outcomes? The great historical upheavals that lent weight to revolution as a political category, in France in 1789 and in Russia in 1917, each took place under a necessitarian banner: the triumph of enlightenment or the elimination of class oppression. In both cases, the outcome belied this optimistic assessment without detracting from the scale of their historical impact across the globe. The French Revolution spawned the category of professional revolutionary, and the Russian Revolution, under its aegis, set the terms for world history for at least half a century. Because neither transformation in due course eventuated as imagined, the idea that revolutions have either necessitated outcomes or intrinsically self-validating objectives has lost credibility. The collapse of regimes will certainly continue to occur. What is in question is whether the re-creation of regimes in the wake of collapse can still align professional revolutionaries with oppressed populations in shared belief and struggle.

References

  1. Abrahamian, Ervand. 1993. Khomeinism: Essays on the Islamic Republic. London: I.B.Tauris.Google Scholar
  2. Arjomand, Samir. 1993. The Turban for the Crown: The Islamic Revolution in Iran. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  3. Axworthy, Michael. 2013. Revolutionary Iran: A History of the Islamic Republic. London: Allen Lane.Google Scholar
  4. Buchan, James. 2012. Days of God: The Revolution in Iran and Its Consequences. London: John Murray.Google Scholar
  5. Buonarroti, Filippo Michele. 1957. Conspiration Pour l’Égalité dite de Babeuf. Paris: Éditions Sociales.Google Scholar
  6. Burke, Edmund. 1989. The French Revolution: 1790–1794. In The Writings and Speeches of Edmund Burke, ed. L.J. Mitchell and William B. Todd, vol. 8. Oxford: Oxford Clarendon Press.Google Scholar
  7. Casson, Douglas John. 2011. Liberating Judgment. Princeton: Princeton University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. de Saint-Just, Louis Antoine. 1908a. Oeuvres Complètes, ed. Charles Vellay. Paris: Charles Vellay, II, 238. Speech of 8 Ventose An II.Google Scholar
  9. ———. 1908b. Oeuvres complètes: L’Élite de la révolution, ed. Charles Vellay. Paris: Charpentier et Fasquelle.Google Scholar
  10. Dunn, John. 1972. Modern Revolutions: An Introduction to the Analysis of a Political Phenomenon. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  11. ———. 1980. The Success and Failure of Modern Revolutions. In Political Obligation in Its Historical Context, 217–239. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. ———. 1984. The Politics of Socialism: An Essay in Political Theory. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. ———. 1990. Revolution. In Interpreting Political Responsibility, 85–99. Cambridge: Polity.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. ———. 1996. Property, Justice and Common Good After Socialism. In The History of Political Theory and Other Essays, 121–135. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  15. ———. 2000. The Cunning of Unreason: Making Sense of Politics. London: HarperCollins.Google Scholar
  16. ———. 2007. Understanding Revolution. In Revolution in the Modern World: Social Identities, Globalisation and Modernity, ed. John Foran, David Lane, and Andreja Zivkovic, 17–26. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  17. ———. 2008a. Revolução 2008–? Lua Nova: Revista de Cultura e Política 75: 199–214.  https://doi.org/10.1590/S0102-64452008000300009.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. ———. 2008b. UnManifest Destiny. In The Federalist Papers, ed. Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay, The Federalist Papers, ed. Ian Shapiro, 483–501.Google Scholar
  19. ———. 2014. Breaking Democracy’s Spell. New Haven: Yale University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. ———. 2018. Setting the People Free: The Story of Democracy. 2nd ed. Princeton: Princeton University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Fagiani, Francesco. 1983. Nel Crepuscolo della probabilità. Naples: Bibliopolis.Google Scholar
  22. Forsyth, Murray. 1987. Reason and Revolution: The Political Thought of the Abbé Sieyès. Leicester: Leicester University Press.Google Scholar
  23. Fukuyama, Francis. 1992. The End of History and the Last Man. London: Hamish Hamilton.Google Scholar
  24. Furet, François. 1981. Interpreting the French Revolution. Trans. E. Forster. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  25. ———. 1999. The Passing of an Illusion. Trans. Deborah Furet. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  26. Guilhaumou, Jacques. 1998. De Société au Socialisme: l’invention néologique et son contexte discursive: essai de colinguisme appliqué. Langage et Societe 83: 115–132.Google Scholar
  27. Hont, Istvan. 2005. Jealousy of Trade. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  28. Israel, Jonathan. 2001. Radical Enlightenment: Philosophy and the Making of Modernity. Oxford: Oxford Clarendon Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. ———. 2006. Enlightenment Contested: Philosophy, Modernity and the Emancipation of Man, 1670–1752. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. ———. 2009. A Revolution of the Mind: Radical Enlightenment and the Intellectual Origins of Modern Democracy. Princeton: Princeton University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. ———. 2014. Revolutionary Ideas: An Intellectual History of the French Revolution from the Rights of Man to Robespierre. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  32. Koselleck, Reinhart. 1985. Futures Past: On the Semantics of Historical Time. Trans. Keith Tribe. Cambridge: MIT University Press.Google Scholar
  33. ———. 1988. Critique and Crisis: Enlightenment and the Pathogenesis of Modern Society. London: Berg.Google Scholar
  34. Lenin, V.I. 1947. Left Wing Communism: An Infantile Disorder. In Selected Works, vol. 2. Moscow: Foreign Languages Publishing House.Google Scholar
  35. Lewin, Moshe. 1968. Russian Peasants and Soviet Power: A Study of Collectivization. London: George Allen & Unwin.Google Scholar
  36. ———. 1985. The Making of the Soviet System: Essays in the Social History of Interwar Russia. London: Methuen.Google Scholar
  37. Lichtheim, George. 1969. The Origins of Socialism. New York: Praeger.Google Scholar
  38. ———. 1970. A Short History of Socialism. New York: Praeger.Google Scholar
  39. Locke, John. 1975. Essay Concerning Human Understanding, ed. Peter H. Nidditch. Oxford: Oxford Clarendon Press.Google Scholar
  40. Mayer, Arno J. 2013. The Furies: Violence and Terror in the French and Russian Revolutions. Princeton: Princeton University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Popper, Karl. 1957. The Open Society and Its Enemies. London: Routledge & K. Paul.Google Scholar
  42. ———. 1960. The Poverty of Historicism. London: Routledge & K. Paul.Google Scholar
  43. Sassoon, Donald. 2010. A Hundred Years of Socialism: The West European Left in the Twentieth Century. London: I.B.Tauris.Google Scholar
  44. Shanin, Teodor. 1972. The Awkward Class: Political Sociology of Peasantry in a Developing Society: Russia 1910–1925. Oxford: Oxford Clarendon Press.Google Scholar
  45. Sieyès, Emmanuel Joseph. 2003. Political Writings, ed. Michael Sonenscher. Indianapolis: Hackett.Google Scholar
  46. Skocpol, Theda. 1979. States and Social Revolutions. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Sonenscher, Michael. 1997. The Nation’s Debt and the Birth of the Modern Republic: The French Fiscal Deficit and the Politics of the Revolution of 1789 (Part II). History of Political Thought 18 (2): 268–325.Google Scholar
  48. ———. 2007. Before the Deluge: Public Debt, Inequality, and the Intellectual Origins of the French Revolution. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  49. Tolstoy, Leo. 2009. The Death of Ivan Ilych and Other Stories. Trans. Richard Pervear and Larissa Volokhonsky. New York: Alfred A Knopff.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.King’s CollegeCambridgeUK

Personalised recommendations