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Revolutionary movements in modern Western society


Admission requirements



The use of violence for political ends should not be necessary in a democratic society. There are nevertheless many organisations in such societies that try to obtain their objectives in that manner. Within Europe one could think of nationalist movements striving for local independence such as the Basque ETA and the Irish IRA, but also of social-revolutionary groups like the Red Brigades or the Baader-Meinhof Group and possibly religiously motivated terrorists.
This Research Seminar will start of with an attempt to formulate hypotheses on the phenomenon of revolution on basis of some theoretical literature regarding questions such as: Under which conditions do people begin to use force as a means to obtain political objectives? How do revolutionary organizations manage to obtain support? How do governments react to their actions? Etc. After this general introduction each student will have to test some of the hypotheses by applying them to one of the revolutionary organisations.

Course objectives

Gaining insight into the concepts of revolution and political violence, and the theoretical discussion concerning this. The ability to formulate testable research question based on a knowledge of the theoretical knowledge. The ability to do research on basis of secondary literature and original source material, to present their work orally and write an essay reporting on their research and its results.


See here.

Mode of instruction

Research seminar.

Assessment method

Essay, presentations, participation.



Reading list

Charles Tilly, European Revolutions, 1492-1992.


via uSis.

Contact information

E-mail: Dr. J. Augusteijn