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Title: Overthrowing Revolution: The Emergence and Success of Counterrevolution, 1900-2015
Authors: Clarke, Killian
Advisors: Beissinger, Mark R
Contributors: Politics Department
Keywords: Counterrevolution
Regime change
Subjects: Political science
Issue Date: 2020
Publisher: Princeton, NJ : Princeton University
Abstract: Under what conditions do revolutionary regimes come under threat from counterrevolutions? And why do some of these counterrevolutions succeed? This dissertation answers these questions, offering new theory and data about an important phenomenon that has received scant treatment in the social sciences. A counterrevolution as an irregular effort in the aftermath of a successful revolution to restore a version of the pre-revolutionary political regime. Original data reveal that just over half of all revolutionary regimes face counterrevolutionary challenges, and that roughly one in five of them are actually overthrown. I argue that, because they have just been ousted by revolution, counterrevolutionaries start off post-revolutionary transitions from a position of weakness. In line with this idea, the data show that counterrevolutions succeed at a lower rate than both revolutions and coups. Counterrevolutionaries will only decide to attempt a risky return to office when they have both considerable stakes in the old order and sufficient capacity left after the revolution. But, paradoxically, counterrevolutionaries with the most desire for restoration are often those with the least means to effect it, because they fought harder and suffered more during the revolution itself. Though they start off with a power advantage over the old regime, revolutionaries may struggle to maintain this initial leverage as they navigating the challenges of post-revolutionary governance. When revolutionaries have their own army or a strong foreign sponsor they have the option of governing through violence. But resource-poor revolutionaries must try to survive by preserving the unity of their coalitions and maintaining their social base. If they fail, driving away their elite and popular allies, their leverage over the old regime may rapidly diminish, creating an opportunity for counterrevolutionaries to rebuild their domestic base and return to power. I first evaluate this theory with statistical analyses of a dataset of all counterrevolutions globally since 1900 (n = 99). I then examine the processual implications of the theory with a case study of Egypt’s 2013 counterrevolution, drawing on nearly one hundred interviews with Egyptian elites and a dataset of protest from the final eighteen months of the post-revolutionary transition (n = ~7,500).
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Type of Material: Academic dissertations (Ph.D.)
Language: en
Appears in Collections:Politics

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