Democracy, Revolution, and History

Democracy, Revolution, and History

Democracy, Revolution, and History

Democracy, Revolution, and History


The work of Barrington Moore, Jr., is one of the landmarks of modern social science. A distinguished roster of contributors here discusses the influence of his best-known work, Social Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy. Their individual perspectives combine in delineating Moore's contributions to the transformation of comparative and historical social science over the past several decades.

The essays in Democracy, Revolution, and History all address substantive and methodological problems, asking questions about the different historical paths toward democratic or nondemocratic political outcomes. Following Moore's example, they use well-researched comparative cases to make their arguments. In the process, they demonstrate how vital Moore's work remains to contemporary research in the social sciences. This volume points, as well, to new frontiers of scholarship, suggesting lines of work that build upon Moore's achievements.


Barrington Moore, Jr., has never sought acolytes or disciples; and if any tried to pop up in his seminars, he squelched them abruptly. There are therefore no self-declared “Moorists” on the contemporary academic scene. But there is no dearth of people profoundly shaped by Barrington Moore's work and example. Many, of course, have been influenced simply by reading Moore's wonderful writings. Others, like the editors and contributors to this volume, have been fortunate to know him directly as his associates or (in most cases) his students. Many former Moore students are now senior established scholars, who tend to be a lot like Barry: crossers of disciplinary boundaries; oriented to comparative and historical research; and committed to tackling substantive questions. They tend to be almost instinctively allergic to general models that obliterate the differences among societies across rime and space. There is thus a distinctive Moore-inspired approach to contemporary social science, even if there is no orthodox Moore School.

A plan to gather essays by Moore's associates and former students has been around for some time. At first, we aimed to put together a volume that would reflect the full variety of Moore's own oeuvre, but in due course it became clear that a volume focused upon Moore's most influential book, Social Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy, made more sense. Such a collection allows us to address central tendencies in historical comparative politics over the last generation—for Social Origins, and scholarship provoked by it, have been at the center of such intellectual tendencies.

The shift of emphasis meant that, alas, a number of high-quality essays had to be set aside. In the spirit of completing a compact and coherent book . . .

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