Kieran Healy summarizes the social science literature on revolutions (with links and everything) to explain why the current student protests in Iran probably won’t lead to regime change any time soon. The short version: as long as the leadership remains united and in control of the military and police, they can maintain their grip on power.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. John Lemon says:

    And, reading through the lens of social science theory, it is highly unlikely that Eastern Europe or the USSR will fall as well. Chile will also remain firmly in the grip of Pinochet, given his grip on the means of coercion and (relative) unity of the military. Democracy will never be negotiated here.

    (While I admit that the students have a big uphill battle, my point here is not to put too much credence in social science theory. There are splits in the clergy and a general disgruntlement among the business class.)

  2. John Lemon says:

    I forgot to say… “well you know, we all want to change the world.”

  3. John Lemon says:

    Plus, he cites [correct spelling] Theda Skocpol who was famously wrong about the first Iranian Revolution (1979) and wrote a follow-up article to her book twisting and turning her theory to make it fit.

  4. James Joyner says:

    Skocpol is APSA president, so she must be right. Them academics is smart.

  5. John Lemon says:

    No, “they’re academics is smart.”

    Which brings me to the possibility of an interesting post on whether bloggers should emphasize good grammar and spelling.

    If bloggers outlawed bad grammar, then only bad grammareticians would have blogs.

    Hmmmm… now that is really bad logic.

  6. Paul says:

    I had heard that many in the military openly said they would split.

    Is it just me or does the students asking the mullahs to admit they do not have divine providence bear a strong resemblance to the way the Romanov’s lost power?

  7. John Lemon says:

    Or Ceausescu?