Long-term effects: Social revolution and civil society in Portugal, 1974-2010

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Do democratic social revolutions strengthen civil society in the long-run? We answer this question by comparing the trajectories of three civil society sectors (social welfare organizations, neighborhood associations, and unions) in democratic Portugal. We argue that the degree of inclusiveness of the institutions of the previous authoritarian regime shaped the type of revolutionary elites available for alliances with civil society during the revolutionary crisis. More inclusionary authoritarian institutions promoted the emergence of a more pluralistic opposition to the dictatorship, thus generating future revolutionary leaderships prone to empowering emerging popular civil society organizations. Inversely, exclusionary and repressive institutions spawned a narrow and secretive opposition and subsequent revolutionary elite bent on hierarchical topdown control thereby disempowering civil society in the long-run.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)411-431
Number of pages21
JournalComparative Politics
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2017


  • Social Revolution
  • Civil Society


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