Revolution, Rebellion, Resistance

The Power of Story

Eric Selbin

Description

Why do revolutions happen? Decades of social science research have brought us little closer to understanding where, when and amongst whom they occur. This book argues that we need to look beyond the economic, political and social structural conditions to the thoughts and feelings of the people who make revolutions.
Why do revolutions happen? Decades of social science research have brought us little closer to understanding where, when and amongst whom they occur.

In this groundbreaking book, Eric Selbin argues that we need to look beyond the economic, political and social structural conditions to the thoughts and feelings of the people who make revolutions. In particular, he argues, we need to understand the stories people relay and rework of past injustices and struggles as they struggle in the present towards a better future. Ranging from the French Revolution to the Battle for Seattle, via Russia, China, Cuba, Vietnam and Nicaragua, Selbin makes the case that it is myth, memory and mimesis which create, maintain and extend such stories.

Revolution, Rebellion, Resistance identifies four kinds of enduring revolutionary story - Civilizing and Democratizing, The Social Revolution, Freedom and Liberation and The Lost and Forgotten - which do more than report on events, they catalyse changing the world.

Author Bio

Eric Selbin is Professor and Chair of Political Science at Southwestern University and a University Scholar. In 2007 he was selected as one of Southwestern's all-time 'Fav Five' Faculty and received an Exemplary Teaching Award in 2001-2002.

Table of Contents

  • 1. A Prolegomenon, an Apologia, and an Overture
  • 2. The Case for Stories: Stories and Social Change
  • 3. Myth, Memory, and Mimesis
  • 4. 'The Uprising of the Anecdotes': The Four Stories of Revolution
  • 5. The Story of Civilizing and Democratizing Revolutions

Reviews

'This work, beautifully written and subtly powerful in its surprising messages for scholars and activists, fully lives up to the promise of its title, from its first page to its eloquent conclusions. Written with passion and humanity, it is for anyone interested in understanding why people matter in projects of radical social change, in the past and into the not so foreseeable future.'
John Foran, UC Santa Barbara

'Building his narrative around four basic stories of revolution - some elitist, some popular, some conservative and others subversive - Selbin has written a book that every student of contentious politics should read.'
Sidney Tarrow, Cornell University

'How people tell the stories of their own lives and of the societies in which the live matters profoundly as Eric Selbin very convincingly argues here. To explain why a rebellion emerges or even succeeds in one place but not another, despite their similar structural or political conditions, we need to pay attention to the stories that revolutionaries tell. Selbin's great contribution is to show that stories are not just interesting, they, just like economics and politics, explain why a revolutionary movement succeeds in one place, but fails in another.'
Karen E. Kampwirth, Knox College

'This book is a powerful addition to our understanding of how revolutions arise, and how revolutionary action is sustained.'
Jack A. Goldstone, George Mason University

'Sometimes, but only sometimes, ordinary people recognize themselves as the chief protagonists in stories of dramatic social transformation or, at least, righteous resistance. When this happens, these stories (to paraphrase Marx) become a powerful material force in history. Eric Selbin has dissected these stories with great insight and wit. He reminds us that they have been powerful tools for understanding and sometimes reinventing the world.'
Jeff Goodwin, New York University

'This fascinating and provocative work offers fresh insights into the struggles of ordinary people as they fight injustice, exploitation, and domination.'
Misagh Parsa, Dartmouth College

'This book is a real achievement and should win a wide readership.'
Kevin J. O’Brien, University of California

'A landmark text - this is a book which everyone interested in revolutions should read and assign.'
George Lawson, London School of Economics

Details

Publication Date: 14 January 2010
272 pages

Product ISBNs: Paperback: 9781848130173
Hardback: 9781848130166
eBook ePub: 9781848137738
eBook PDF: 9781848135369
eBook Kindle: 9781780327174

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