What Do We Really Know about (the Social Science of) Revolution?


LAC Burkhardt




For residence at the Department of Sociology at the University of California, Irvine during academic year 2020-2021


What do scholars think we know about revolution? To what extent is our social knowledge dependent on how we have interpreted revolution? Do our interpretations hold across time and space? This project examines all comparative studies of revolution published from 1970 to 2019 to reveal which events the field as a whole studies, how they have been studied, and what knowledge results. Content analysis shows how authors select their cases and which comparisons scholars draw among revolutionary events. Social network analysis examines who produces knowledge about revolution and their connections to each other, as revealed by acknowledgements in books. Finally, meta-analysis shows which theories apply to which revolutions, and which causal factors have the most explanatory power across many cases.