On the classification of revolutions

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Abstract


The article considers one of the fundamental challenges in the theory of revolution - classification of revolutions. The author analyzes the four most popular features of revolutions that are used to define their types: “revolution from above”, “revolution from below”, “popular revolution” (the marker of the real revolution “from below”), “passive revolution” and “conservative revolution”. All these concepts have a common methodological basis, are closely interrelated in definitions and have the same problems of being used for classifying revolutions. The author examines the principles of introducing these terms and the possibility of their application for classifying revolution by asking two questions: 1) does the classification (and the definition) cover all known social-political revolutions; 2) does the classification (and the definition) allow to consider as revolutions quite different phenomena just similar to revolutions in a number of external features. The main problem of the contemporary discourse is systematization of revolutions according to the above ‘names’ that are accepted as classifying definitions. Moreover, these “new types of revolutions” are added to the existing classifications, which creates confusion, blurs the boundaries of the “revolution”, and allows other social-political phenomena - radical and mass protests, reforms and coups d'état - to be named “revolutions”. The concepts “revolution from above”, “revolution from below”, “popular revolution”, “passive revolution” and “conservative revolution” are socially significant and can be used in everyday discourse, perhaps also in the social-political space (which, however, causes difficulties), but are not scientific terms and cannot be grounds for the scientific classification of revolutions.


About the authors

E. E. Shults

Moscow State Regional University

Author for correspondence.
Email: nuap1@yandex.ru
Radio St., 10А, Moscow, 105005, Russia

кандидат исторических наук, доцент кафедры истории России средних веков и нового времени Московского государственного областного университета

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