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CISSM Global Forum | Radical Repertoires: Reconceptualizing Social Revolutions

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Megan Stewart

Megan A. Stewart, Associate Professor, Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy at the University of Michigan 

A Zoom link will be provided to all that register at 10 am on the morning of the event.

Event Description

Research demonstrates that some attempts to radically restructure society–social revolutions–spark political violence, interstate war, or enduring authoritarianism. Yet, social revolutions are just a subset of all attempts to radically restructure society: they are successful transformations of the social order that occur after regime change by mass revolt (e.g., France, Russia). Attempts to restructure society similar in scope and ambition to social revolution that happen in the absence of regime change (e.g., Chinese Communist Party during the civil war) or mass revolt (e.g., Ethiopian Derg), as well as unsuccessful restructuring attempts (e.g., Hungary 1919), fall outside of social revolutions’ contextual parameters. Existing scholarship, however, lacks a framework for consistently identifying this broader case universe of relatively similar and uniform attempts to radically restructure society, including but beyond social revolutions. Without these cases, neither scholars nor policymakers can predict when political actors attempt to transform society, describe variation in how they strive for such change, or explain differences in the outcomes of these attempts. The project fills this gap by introducing a new, theoretically grounded framework for consistently identifying similar attempts to restructure society, including but not limited to social revolution.

Speaker Bio

Megan A. Stewart is an Associate Professor at the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy at the University of Michigan. She is particularly interested in explaining variation in how changes to social, economic, and political hierarchies—especially across racial, gender, class, or religious/ethnic lines—are attempted and achieved, and how war or political violence is often the context or consequence of such endeavors. Dr. Stewart explores questions related to this topic using quantitative, qualitative, and experimental methods. Her book, Governing for Revolution, was published by Cambridge University Press, and her award-winning research has been published in venues such as International Organization, Journal of Politics, Comparative Political Studies, European Journal of International Relations, and the Journal of Conflict Resolution, in addition to other venues. During the 2023-2024 Academic Year, she will be the Interim Director of the International Policy Center at the Ford School. 

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