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Card-index course

Comparative sociology of revolutions

Sociologie comparée des révolutions

Responsible Faculty: Faculty of Social and Political Sciences (SSP)

Teacher(s): Mounia Bennani-Chraïbi, Olivier Fillieule
Lecturer(s): -

Validity: 2012 -> 2012

No timetable defined.


Spring semester
4 hours per week
56 hours per semester

Teaching language(s): French
Public: Yes
Credits: 0


This course is for students to work on classic theoretical texts relevant to current political phenomena.
Amongst the skills developed in the context of the course, the following are noteworthy: analytical interpretation of theoretical works; the comparative approach; analysis of artistic, media and digital sources; and composition skills.


While we have long sought to distinguish the revolutionary phenomenon from other political practices (from popular emotion to a coup d'état) to establish "laws" of development, today, under the effect of various revolutions-the Iranian revolution (1978-1979), that of Latin American guerrillas, and the collapse of the Eastern bloc (1989-1991), the inclination is to abandon such generalizations in favour of approaches attentive to the historical depth of phenomena and their relentless unpredictability. In doing so, the reification and false oppositions which contaminate comparative analysis (e.g. between structure and agency; between material forces, ideologies and cultures; between the state and civil society; and between distant causes and triggering events) may be overcome.

The revolts and revolutions of North Africa and the Middle East in 2011 lead us to take a fresh look at this area, both epistemologically and methodologically. Beginning with a review of the events of 2011, this will be a process of reflection on the causal chain of events, so that individual acts and the structures of action taken are situated in context and adjusted as events develop. This will involve an attempt to reconstruct the ways the fields of battle progressively take shape, attentive at each stage to the manner in which, in given situations, the actors develop strategies or "make do" in particular conditions, and ultimately contribute to modifying their environment.

Canton de Vaud
Swiss University
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