Negotiated Revolutions: The Prospects for Radical Change in Contemporary World Politics

Review of International Studies

Author/s (editor/s):

George Lawson

Publication year:


Publication type:

Journal article

Find this publication at:
Cambridge University Press

George Lawson, ‘Negotiated Revolutions: The Prospects for Radical Change in Contemporary World Politics’, Review of International Studies, 31(3) 2005: 473-93.

This article is an attempt to rescue revolution, both as concept and practice, from the triumphalism of the contemporary world. To that end, the article uses three transformations from authoritarian rule – the end of apartheid in South Africa, the collapse of communism in the Czech Republic and the transition from military dictatorship to market democracy in post-Pinochet Chile – in order to test the ways in which these contemporary manifestations of radical change compare and contrast with past examples of revolution. Although these cases share some core similarities with revolutions of the modern era, they also differ from them in five crucial ways: the particular role played by the ‘international’ and the state, the nature of violence, the use of ideology, and the process of negotiation itself. As such, they signify a novel process in world politics, that of negotiated revolution.

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