Defining Revolution Second Generation Theorists Essay

1600 words - 7 pages

Defining Revolution
Second Generation Theorists
Both Samuel Huntington and Charles Tilley are considered to be a part of the second generation of theorists that deal with the issue of revolution. These theorists view revolutions in conjunction with a pluralist approach which considers events to be the outcome of conflict between competing interest groups428*. Both theorists viewed revolutions as the ultimate political conflict which would ultimately destroy the political system to which the revolution was opposed. In order for a revolutionary situation to occur multiple sovereignty must be present; that is highly opposed competing interest groups must exist within a state and must both have the necessary resources to attempt to achieve their revolutionary goals*.
Huntington defines revolution as the result of a state in which rapid mobilisation of new groups and social change is taking place while the necessary organisational organs are unable to appease the wants of the people and provide change at a matched pace 430*. The effect of such mass mobilisation and the significant increase in political participation intends to destabilise the current political institutions within the state. During phases of modernisation, Huntington suggests that such expansion should be matched with similar paced development of political institutions in terms of their complexity and autonomy in order to minimise and contain the effect of modernisation by political institutions*. Huntington equates modernisation with political decay and therefore suggests criteria by which political institutions can attempt to maintain political relevance. These criteria include; complexity, autonomy, coherence and adaptability. It is suggested by Huntington that if a political institution adapts to the changing needs of its people, maintains its power and relevance and ensures consistency, it will endure the possible political catalysed by modernisation431*.
Few criticisms are offered in response to Huntington’s theory pf revolution; too few studies have been conducted to conclusively confirm whether or not instability resulting from modernisation is actually directly linked to the rate of modernisation as suggested432*. In order to ensure that revolution is adequately removed from other similar phenomena, Huntington provides the following definition of revolutions: “a revolution is a rapid, fundamental, and violent domestic change in the dominant values and myths of a society, in its political institutions, social structure, leadership, and government activity and policies.” Huntington inflates the definition to such an extent that it can be argued that no such revolution has ever occurred433*. Despite the abovementioned criticism, Huntington’s theory of revolution offers an alternative theory to psychologism, often employed when explaining revolution as well as a view that considers the importance of group claims on the political system431*.
Charles Tilley suggests that a...

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