GIR Colloquium Series: Anatomies of Revolution

This event has been cancelled

4 October 2018

Abstract

There are two main ways of approaching the study of revolution in the contemporary world – and they are both wrong. On the one hand, revolutions appear to be everywhere: on the streets of Kobane, Caracas, and Tehran; in the rhetoric of groups like Podemos and Black Lives Matter; and in the potential of new technologies to reshape people’s lives. But can revolution really be street mobilization, social movement, and technological breakthrough at the same time?

This issue is complicated by a second equally common, but apparently contradictory, meme – that revolutions are irrelevant to a world in which the big issues of governance and economic development have been settled. With the passing of state socialism, it is supposed, revolutions appear more as minor disturbances than as projects of deep confrontation and systemic transformation. Both of these positions are untenable. While the former makes revolution so all-encompassing that it becomes an empty term without substantive content, the latter is overly complacent, failing to see the enduring appeal of attempts to overturn existing conditions and generate alternative social orders.

This talk aims to generate a more nuanced appreciation of the place of revolution in the contemporary world, examining how revolutions emerge, how they unfold, and how they end. Its central task, therefore, is to unravel the ‘anatomies of revolution’.

 

About the speaker

George Lawson is Associate Professor in International Relations at the London School of Economics and Political Science. His theoretical work is oriented around the relationship between history and theory, with a particular interest in historical sociology. His empirical work ranges from the study of revolutions to the 19th century origins of contemporary international order. His books include: Global Historical Sociology, edited with Julian Go (Cambridge, 2017); The Global Transformation, with Barry Buzan (Cambridge, 2015); The Global 1989: Continuity and Change in World Politics, edited with Chris Armbruster and Michael Cox (Cambridge, 2010); and Negotiated Revolutions: The Czech Republic, South Africa and Chile (Ashgate, 2005). Lawson is currently completing a book entitled ‘Anatomies of Revolution’.

Event details

  • When: 1.00pm - 2.30pm
  • Where: Room 441 Social Sciences Building, A02
  • Cost: Free
  • Contact:

    Gorana Grgic

    E: gorana.grgic@sydney.edu.au



GIR Colloquium Series: Anatomies of Revolution

Where Room 441 Social Sciences Building, A02 When

4 October 2018


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