The Revolutionary City: Urbanization and the Global Transformation of Rebellion
Join us for our fifth Book Talk
Date: Monday, June 5, 2023 at 5:30pm
Location: West Hall Auditorium A, American University of Beirut
The Revolutionary City: Urbanization and the Global Transformation of Rebellion (Princeton University Press, 2022)
Authored by Mark Beissinger
Mona Harb, Professor of Politics and Urban Studies at the American University of Beirut and co-Founder and Research Lead at the Beirut Urban Lab
Alexandra Kassir, incoming Assistant Professor of Sociology at the American University of Beirut
Jamil Mouawad, Visiting Assistant Professor of Politics at the American University of Beirut
All are welcome!
About the Book
Examining the changing character of revolution around the world, focuses on the impact that the concentration of people, power, and wealth in cities exercises on revolutionary processes and outcomes. Once predominantly an urban and armed affair, revolutions in the twentieth century migrated to the countryside, as revolutionaries searched for safety from government repression and discovered the peasantry as a revolutionary force. But at the end of the twentieth century, as urban centers grew, revolution returned to the city—accompanied by a new urban civic repertoire espousing the containment of predatory government and relying on visibility and the power of numbers rather than arms.
Using original data on revolutionary episodes since 1900, public opinion surveys, and engaging examples from around the world, Mark Beissinger explores the causes and consequences of the urbanization of revolution in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. Beissinger examines the compact nature of urban revolutions, as well as their rampant information problems and heightened uncertainty. He investigates the struggle for control over public space, why revolutionary contention has grown more pacified over time, and how revolutions involving the rapid assembly of hundreds of thousands in central urban spaces lead to diverse, ad hoc coalitions that have difficulty producing substantive change. provides a new understanding of how revolutions happen and what they might look like in the future.
Mark R. Beissinger is Henry W. Putnam Professor in the Department of Politics at Princeton University. He previously served on the faculties of University of Wisconsin-Madison and Harvard University. His main fields of interest are social movements, revolutions, nationalism, state-building, and imperialism, with special reference to the former Soviet Union and the post-Soviet states. In addition to numerous articles and book chapters, Beissinger is author or editor of six books: Scientific Management, Socialist Discipline, and Soviet Power (Harvard University Press, 1988); The Nationalities Factor in Soviet Politics and Society (Westview, 1988); Beyond State Crisis? Post-Colonial Africa and Post-Soviet Eurasia Compared (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2002); Nationalist Mobilization and the Collapse of the Soviet State (Cambridge University Press, 2002); Historical Legacies of Communism in Russia and Eastern Europe (Cambridge University Press, 2014); and The Revolutionary City: Urbanization and the Global Transformation of Rebellion (Princeton University Press, 2022). Beissinger's recent writings have dealt with such topics as individual participation in the Orange Revolution in Ukraine in 2004 and in the Egyptian and Tunisian revolutions in 2011, the impact of new social media on opposition movements in autocratic regimes, the role of human error in revolutions, Russian imperialism in Eurasia, civil society and the resistance to democratic backsliding, the relationship between nationalism and democracy, and the evolving character of revolutionary contention. His book Nationalist Mobilization and the Collapse of the Soviet State received multiple awards, including the Woodrow Wilson Foundation Award presented by the American Political Science Association for the best book published in the United States in the field of government, politics, or international affairs, and the Mattei Dogan Award presented by the Society for Comparative Research for the best book published in the field of comparative research.
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Jamil Mouawad teaches Politics and Policy at the Department of Political Studies and Public Administration at the American University of Beirut. He is also a Senior Fellow at the Arab Reform Initiative. He holds a PhD in politics from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London. Jamil is a founding member of the Beirut School for Critical Security Studies. His research interests in state-society relations span the subfields of comparative politics and political economy. He has several scientific publications and is a regular commentator on Lebanese politics. He is currently finalizing a book entitled The Awaited State: State Formation and Elite Resilience in Lebanon.