Date of Award
Josef Korbel School of International Studies
Jonathan Adelman, Ph.D.
Leadership, Revolution, The State
Despite the progress that has been made in revolutionary theorising over the past few years, most theorists of social change continue to neglect the influence of opposition leaders upon the revolutionary process. One of the few exceptions in this regard is Max Weber. In his analysis of legitimate authority, Weber asserts that the charismatic form of authority rests on popular devotion to the normative order ordained by a specific person at a time of crisis.
Though his work offers some important insights into the revolutionary process, Weber fails to take into account the conditions that give rise to such forms of authority in the first place. This is why the state-in-society approach is so important. It analyses the interactions of multiple sets of formal and informal groups that promote different conceptions of political order. The focus here is not so much on whether a state provides opportunities for people to act, but how the practices of states generate justifiable collective grievances and ideologies in the first place.
This is significant because revolutionary theorising needs to recognise the processes by which states influence the identities and ideas of various opposition groups in society. Where state practices contend with very different forms of social behaviour, people tend to be drawn into revolutionary movements because they are inspired by the vision of those who offer an escape from the unjust practices of the state. As we will see, this was certainly true in Cuba and Iran, where Fidel Castro and Ayatollah Khomeini came to assume paramount roles in revolutionary movements committed to very different forms of socio-economic justice.
Bowen, Nicholas, "Man, the State, and Revolution" (2011). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 78.
Received from ProQuest