Revolution and Modernity


Revolution simultaneously legitimises and denies the coordinate centre of the political order of Modernity. It is difficult to describe the historical evolution from the early industrial, class-national forms of political organisation to late or global Modernity other than in terms of a low-intensity revolution in the rate of social change. On the other hand, this permanent modernisation is not revolutionary in the sense that the periodic splits of elites, colour revolutions, coups and national liberation movements do not in and of themselves make demands for fundamental change in the value-institutional core of the political order of Modernity. The potential for a new revolution can be consequent only on a repudiation of Modernity in favour of an alternative political project having a greater capability for universalisation and totalisation. If, in legitimising its liberal consensus and nation-state models as the dominant political format of their synthesis, capitalism is the value-institutional quintessence of the political order of Modernity, it is precisely in challenges to capitalism, the liberal consensus and nationalism that provide the most obvious means for crystallising revolutionary movements. From such a perspective, capitalism increasingly comes up against the global limits of its expansion, with class ideologies degenerating into a fragmented, technologically intermediated populism, and nation-states experiencing increasing pressure from alternative political formats (city networks, multinational corporations, etc.) as they attempt to preserve the model of the social state. While various discourses and social groups profess to play the role of revolutionary utopias and subjects, in essence, their ability to present a totalising alternative to late Modernity remains an open question. A utopian systemic challenge to Modernity, connected with a morally more justified configuration and associated hierarchy of legitimate violence, is yet to emerge, whether from within Modernity or some source external to it. It is demonstrated that in the long term a serious (and possibly revolutionary) correction of the political order of modern societies will be capable of producing a rental transformation of capitalism and an expansion of the rent-class stratification mechanisms associated with precarisation, along with a reduction of social mobility trajectories and the prospects of active social groups.

Author Biography

Victor Martianov, Institute for Philosophy and Law, Ural Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences

Victor Martianov, Candidate of Political Sciences, Deputy Director, Institute for Philosophy and Law, Ural Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences. His research interests are focused on contemporary political philosophy, and theory and methodology of socio-political sciences. He has elaborated the concept of meta-language of socio-political sciences, studied the political concept of Modernity, and introduced the original approach towards the stratification of contemporary societies. The main publications included the following: The Evolutions of Russian Political Discourse: from “Western Democracy” to “the Quality of Democracy” (2005), The Decline of Public Politics in Russia: from Public Politics to Political Administration: the Depoliticization of the Regions (2007), Apologia of Modernity (2017).


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How to Cite
Martianov, V. (2018). Revolution and Modernity. Changing Societies & Personalities, 2(2), 143-160. doi:10.15826/csp.2018.2.2.034