Ideology versus reality: the rise and fall of social revolution in Peru

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Date

2009-12

Authors

Templeman, Matthew Andrew

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Abstract

In Latin America, a social revolution is statistically far more likely to fail than to succeed. Yet there is little understanding as to the contributory factors of revolutionary failure or success. Many researchers look for commonalities by examining multiple revolutions across the region or even around the globe and throughout large periods of time, but their analysis frequently lacks commonality in the underlying conditions of the insurgencies. The case of Peru, however, provides a unique opportunity to examine multiple revolutions in the fairly homogenous environment of one state during a short and constrained timeframe of thirty years. In the history of the Republic of Peru, there have been only four social revolutions. These insurgencies were contained within two discreet periods of time: the MIR and ELN in the 1960’s, and Shining Path and MRTA in the 1980’s to 1990’s. While each of these revolutions experienced varying levels of success, each ultimately failed due, in no small part, to a particular set of structural and socioeconomic variables.

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