Revolution remains a key concept in the social sciences. After the 200th anniversary of the French Revolution, a debate still rages over its causes and meaning. At the same time as, in Eastern Europe, much of what the Russian Revolution was believed to have stood for is being rejected, the Chinese leadership has reaffirmed its right to maintain "revolutionary" political orthodoxy by force. In this book Professor Calvert aims to show how revolution must by its nature be disputed. When people observe revolutions, their interpretations of what they are seeing are conditioned by changing intellectual fashion and by wishful thinking and so too are the theories derived from them. This book re-examines the place of revolution in modern social theory and at the same time reasserts the need for systematic study in the social sciences.