Revolution and the Millennium: China, Mexico, and Iran / Edition 1

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An interdisciplinary, cross-cultural, cross-historical analysis of three 20th-century non-Western revolutionary societies—China, Mexico, and Iran—that were profoundly impinged upon by European and American imperialism. The study explores the role of apocalyptic beliefs in radical movements bent on sociopolitical transformation. It concludes that millennial expectations performed important and similar preparatory, leadership, and therapeutic functions in each case.

Millenarian movements are powerful and emotional social movements that expect an immediate, collective, total, this-worldly, supernatural salvation and transformation of society. They anticipate the complete destruction of the existing sociopolitical and economic order, which they assert will be followed by a new and perfect society. This study provides an interdisciplinary, cross-cultural, cross-historical analysis of three 20th-century non-Western revolutionary societies that were profoundly impinged upon by European and American imperialism. It seeks to explore the functional role of millenarianism in these three revolutions.

In all three cases, millenarianism prepared the way for revolutionary transformation. It acted as a catalyst for action among that group of the most ardent revolutionists who were willing to pay any price to achieve what they were convinced was the inevitable goal of a utopian society. Millenarianism created the potential for charismatic leadership to emerge. It functioned as a doctrinal platform that awaited the opportunity to elevate a prophetic revolutionary leader to take control. Finally, millenarianism performed a therapeutic, identity, and cathartic function by providing the doctrinal foundation and an effective organization for a social healing process to take place. A challenge to conventional arguments on the origins and outcomes of revolutions, this study will be of great interest to scholars and researchers in comparative politics, sociology, and religion.

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Editorial Reviews

Nothing to do with the coming turnover of the Christian calendar. Rinehart (international relations, Troy State U., Ft. Bragg, North Carolina) look at how concepts of sweeping away the old before the new can begin relate to three revolutions at the beginning of the 20th century. Comparing events in the three countries, he argues that pervasive millenarian expectations were an important component in all three revolution and explores the specific roles and functions of millenarianism as a society accelerates toward revolution. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780275959319
  • Publisher: Greenwood Publishing Group, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 10/30/1997
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 208
  • Lexile: 1630L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 7.94 (w) x 8.02 (h) x 0.81 (d)

Meet the Author

JAMES F. RINEHART is Assistant Professor and Director of the Graduate Program in International Relations, U.S. Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School, Troy State University, Ft. Bragg, North Carolina.

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Table of Contents

Introduction 1
1 Apocalyptic Prophecy to Millenarian Revolution 17
2 Imperialism and Upheaval: China, Mexico, and Iran 41
3 The Preparatory Function 63
4 A Platform for Leadership 117
5 The Therapeutic Function 151
Conclusion 173
Bibliography 179
Index 191
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