Library Header Image
LSE Theses Online London School of Economics web site

Negotiated revolution: the Czech Republic, South Africa and Chile

Lawson, George (2003) Negotiated revolution: the Czech Republic, South Africa and Chile. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

Download (11MB) | Preview


This thesis is an attempt to rescue revolution, both as concept and practice, from the misplaced triumphalism of the contemporary world. Given the relative openness and flux which characterises the post-cold war international system, the extent and range of problems which plague the world, and the enduring human proclivity for change, it would be folly to ignore a process which has had such a constitutive impact on world politics over the past few centuries. To that end, this thesis is a comparison of three contemporary 'revolutions': 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. It asks two main questions: first, do these transformations represent, in a substantive sense, examples of revolutionary change. Second, in what ways do they compare and contrast with past revolutions. The first two chapters deal with the principal theoretical and methodological issues posed by the dissertation. I outline how an International Sociology operating as a 'middle level analysis' can unravel processes of complex social change in world politics, including revolutionary change. I then set out the case for a conjunctural, process based approach to the study of revolutionary change, defining revolutions as the mass, rapid, forceful, systemic transformation of the principal power relations in a particular society. The three case studies use primary and secondary source material to both back up and challenge these assertions. I argue that, while the Czech Republic and South Africa can be considered as substantive examples of revolutionary change, Chile is better understood as a case of transition - only a partial modification of the society's main power relations has taken place over the last ten years or so. But although both the Czech Republic and South Africa share many characteristics with past examples of revolutionary change, they also differ from them in a number of crucial ways: the role of 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 - negotiated revolution. I conclude by examining the utility of the concept of negotiated revolution for understanding other examples of radical change, both actual and potential, in contemporary world politics.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Political Science, General
Sets: Collections > ProQuest Etheses

Actions (login required)

Record administration - authorised staff only Record administration - authorised staff only


Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics