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Structure, Temporality, and Theories of Revolution Reading Alberto Melucci in Revolutionary Saint Domingue, 1791–1804

Journal of Historical Sociology

Published online on


["Journal of Historical Sociology, EarlyView. ", "\nAbstract\nThis article addresses the debate on structure, agency, and process in contemporary revolution theory, drawing on social movement theory and using the Haitian Revolution as an illustrative case. The article seeks to make three main contributions. Firstly, while accepting the critique against the failure of structuralist revolution theory to explain why revolutions can occur under difficult circumstances, the article proposes a structuralist solution instead of the focus on intentions and processes in contemporary revolution theory. Secondly, it brings a new angle to the emerging dialogue between the different fields that theorize social movements and revolutions, by combining Alberto Melucci's early and later approaches to social movements and temporality. Thirdly, the Meluccian approach is utilized in a case study that explores how independence from France can be understood in the Haitian Revolution, which serves to illustrate the strengths of the theoretical approach and to criticize the major accounts of independence in existing studies of the Haitian Revolution.\n"]