Cover image for Revolutions, nations, empires : conceptual limits and theoretical possibilities
Revolutions, nations, empires : conceptual limits and theoretical possibilities
Motyl, Alexander J.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Columbia University Press, [1999]

Physical Description:
xiii, 229 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm

Format :


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HM281 .M667 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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An examination of the conceptual underpinnings of revolutions, nations and empires and the conditions that make them possible. The text argues that how concepts are defined and delimited strongly influences the theoretical claims that can be made about them.

Author Notes

Alexander Motyl is a professor at Rutgers-The State University of New Jersey, Newark.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

Motyl's goal is to think about connections between revolutions, nations, and empires. He discusses these concepts by looking at theories about them and then exploring the implications of this search. His discussions lead to three claims. One, concepts are used to develop what we determine to be clear. Two, concepts are building blocks to coherent theories. Three, concepts define the range of claims that theories make. Motyl assumes that all theories are inadequate and made so by the researcher as much as by the "nature of things." He assumes that we know less than we claim to know. He concludes that theory is always underdetermined and facts overdetermined. Motyl wants us to think about how we think, not only about what we find when we consider nations and the ways they change. This book challenges quantitative and qualitative approaches to the study of political change. It is well worth reading for that alone, except that it is also an elegantly written piece. Recommended for all levels. P. Barton-Kriese; Indiana University East

Table of Contents

1 Nations
1 Nations and Nationalism
2 Theories of the Nation
3 The Modernity of Nationalism
2 Revolutions
4 The Concept of Revolution
5 Limits on Revolution
6 Structural Constraints and Starting Points: The Logic of Systemic Change in Ukraine and Russia
3 Empires
7 Coneceptualizing Empire
8 Theorizing Empire
9 The Future of Empire