Lecture: The Distinctive Pattern of Revolution in the Islamicate Civilization

Lecture by Professor Saïd Amir Arjomand, State University of New York at Stony Brook:

The Distinctive Pattern of Revolution in the Islamicate Civilization

The most recent or “third generation” theories of revolution focus on the collapse of the state as a major cause of the revolution. This analysis rests on a logical confusion in that state collapse is in no way proven or measured independently of the occurrence of revolution, and should therefore be part of the definition of revolution and not one of its causes. In the typology of revolutions offered in my forthcoming book, what I call the Tocquevillian Type seeks to capture the distinc- tive pattern of modern Western revolutions that entail the collapse of the state at the center of the political ancien régime. In the same work, I offer the Khaldunian Type of Integrative Revolution, as the ideal type of the pattern of revolutionary transformation marked by the rise and fall of dynastic states that was discovered by Ibn Khaldun in the context of the interaction between the urban centers and the nomadic periphery as the two components of the distinctively dual pattern of the Islamicate civilization. The typology of Eastern and Western revolution, offered by Samuel Huntington over half a century ago, in fact highlighted the pattern explained by Ibn Khaldun, whose model fits well the cycles of nomadic state formation in China, Huntington’s basis for his typology. In this presentation, I focus on millennial motive not favored by Ibn Khaldun, or for that matter by contemporary sociological theories of revolution, as the key element in an endemic cul- ture of insurgency that, when implanted in the tinder bed of the liminal spaces between the desert and the sown, engenders sparks that set fires of rebellion occasionally inflaming and destroying state centers of imperial regimes.

Date: Thursday, 18 May, 4:15 p.m.
Place: Thunberg Lecture Hall, The Swedish Collegium for Advanced Study, Thunbergsvägen 2, Uppsala

This is an event of the Karlgren-Eisenstadt Programme.

The lecture will be followed by a reception. Prior registration is required.
Please contact rsvp@swedishcollegium.se no later than 15 May to sign up for the event.