Global Governance Institute


The Revolutionary City: Urbanization and the Global Transformation of Rebellion

15 March 2022, 6:15 pm–7:30 pm

Euromaidan Kyiv (Oleg Mityukhin / Pixabay)

Join us on 15 March for a keynote lecture with Professor Mark R. Beissinger on the evolution of civic rebellion in urban spaces.

This event is free.

Event Information

Open to







Julia Kreienkamp

Revolutions are unusual moments of mass collective agency in the remaking of government and society. But the ways in which populations go about the business of regime-change from below, the reasons they engage in such action, and the social forces that mobilize in revolution have altered dramatically over the past century. Once predominantly an urban and armed affair, revolutions in the twentieth century migrated to the countryside as revolutionaries searched for safety from government repression — in the process discovering the peasantry as a revolutionary force. At the end of the twentieth century, social revolutions — revolution’s most theorized form — largely vanished, even while urban revolutions proliferated. This return of revolution to the city was accompanied by a new “urban civic” repertoire relying on minimalist goals, visibility, and the power of numbers rather than the power of arms.  Using data on revolutions since 1900, this talk examines the driving logic behind this evolution — a repression-disruption trade-off emerging from proximity to the state’s nerve centers of power and the consequences that flow from this spatial logic of rebellion. It shows how the concentration of people, power, and wealth in cities over the last century has altered this trade-off and, with it, the frequency, character, and consequences of revolution in the contemporary world.

About the Speaker

Mark R. Beissinger

Henry W. Putnam Professor of Politics at Princeton University

Mark R. Beissinger
Mark R. Beissinger is the Henry W. Putnam Professor of Politics at Princeton University.  Among other writings, his most recent books include Nationalist Mobilization and the Collapse of the Soviet State (2002), Historical Legacies of Communism in Russia and Eastern Europe (jointly edited with Stephen Kotkin, 2014), and The Revolutionary City: Urbanization and the Global Transformation of Rebellion (Princeton University Press, 2022).

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