Culture, Strategy and State-Centered Explanations of Revolution, 1789 and 1989
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Social scientists studying revolutions have increasingly argued that explanations of revolutions that do not include subjective factors, such as culture, are inadequate. The failure to explain the anti-Communist revolutions of 1989 is forceful testimony to this inadequacy. But the way in which cultural aspects are being added to existing approaches tends to undermine past advances in studying revolutions. Recent historiography of the French Revolution provides an example of a more thorough-going approach to political culture. A productive synthesis that both preserves past advances and better explains the revolutions of 1989 is achieved by analyzing the effects of cultural change on state elites.
Social Science History
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