States and Social Revolutions Essay

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States and Social Revolutions 1 States and Social Revolutions States and Social Revolutions: A Comparative Analysis of France, Russia and China is a 1979 book by political scientist and sociologist Theda Skocpol, published by Cambridge University Press and explaining the causes of revolutions through the structural functionalism sociological paradigm comparative historical analysis of the French Revolution of 1787 through the early 19th century French Revolution, the Russian Revolution of 1917 through the 1930s Russian Revolution and the Chinese Revolution of 1911 through the 1960s Cultural Revolution. Skocpol argues that these three cases, despite being spread over a century and a half, are similar in the sense that all three were Social Revolutions Skocpol asserts that Social Revolutions are rapid and basic transformations of a society's state and class structures. This is different from, for example, a mere 'rebellion' which merely involves a revolt of subordinate classes but may not create structural change and from a Political Revolution that may change state structures but not social structures. Industrialization can transform social structure but not change the political structure. What is unique about Social Revolutions, she says, is that basic changes in social structure and political structure occur in a mutually reinforcing fashion and these changes occur through intense sociopolitical conflict. Synopsis Before Social Revolutions can occur, she says, the administrative and military power of a state has to break down. Thus pre-revolutionary France, Russia and China had well-established states that stood astride large agrarian economies in which the imperial state and the landed upper classes partnered in the control and exploitation of the peasantry but monarchy in each country faced an extraordinary dilemma in dealing with foreign power

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