Social Revolutions in the Modern World

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Social Revolutions in the Modern World

By Theda Skocpol
Cambridge University Press, 1994
344 pp. $49.95

In this collection of previously published essays, one of America's leading comparative sociologists refines and expands the arguments she made in her 1979 book, States and Social Revolutions, to account for the numerous Third World revolutions since then. Skocpol is known for her emphasis on both the role of the state in revolutions and "structural" causes such as agrarian class relations, at the expense of "voluntaristic" explanations that look to the role of individuals and ideologies. Her efforts to assimilate new cases like Iran and Nicaragua into a framework developed for France, Russia, and China are consistently sophisticated and informative. Of interest as well is her methodological defense of "macrosociology," or social theory on a grand scale, and her critiques of fellow grand theorists Barrington Moore and Immanuel Wallerstein.

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