Anatomy of Rebellion

By Claude E. Welch Jr.

Paperback : 9780873954570, 387 pages, June 1980
Hardcover : 9780873954419, 387 pages, June 1980

Alternative formats available from:

Table of contents


I. The Settling for Rebellion

1. The Four Rebellions and their Physical Settings The Taiping Rebellion-- China, 1850-1964

The Telengana Rebellion-- India, 1946-1951

The Mau Mau Rebellion-- Kenya, 1952-1956
The Kwilu Rebellion-- Zaire, 1963-1965
Geographic Marginality

Natural Disaster and Collective Political Violence

Land Scarcity, Ownership, and the Subsistence Ethic 2. The Bases for Collective Political Violence Inequality and Social Strain

Collective Action and Social Structure
Bases of Inequality in Late Chi'ng China
Telengana: Communal and Class Perceptions of Conflict

Kikuyu Clans and Communal Land Tenure

Kwilu: Economic Impetus to Ethnic Rebellion 3. Alien Rule and the Potential for Discontent Maxims for Minority Control

China: The Manchu Maintenance of Rural Control

Telengana: British "Paramountcy" in Theory, Muslim Dominance in Fact

Kenya: Race against "Paramountcy"

The Belgian Congo: Service Through Domination
II. The Politicization of Discontent

4. The Sense of Relative Deprivation The Unseen Nature of Rural Discontent

The Uneven Nature of Politicization

Taiping: Hakka Perceptions of Threats to Livelihood

Telengana: The Intensification of Rural Indebtedness

Mau Mau: Alienation of Land and Alienation of Support

Kwilu: Aspiration Denied 5. Incumbent Response and the Actualization of Violence Governmental Protection and Coercion in Rural Areas

Taiping: Imperial Ineptitude and Power Deflation

Telengana: Village Initiation and Landlord Response
Mau Mau: Nationalist Agitation or Incumbent Provocation?

Kwilu: The Rewards of Opposition 6. Leaders, Organizations, and the Coordination of Dissent The Personal Bases of Political Institutions

Taiping: The God Worshippers and Other Organizational Types

Telengana: Communal and Class Bases for Conflict
Mau Mau: Constraints on African Political Expression

Kwilu: The Costs of Opposition 7. Ideology and the Justification and Direction of Rebellion Four Functions of Ideology

Taiping: How Christian? How Confucian?

Telengana: Maoist Maladaptation?

Mau Mau: Oaths and Basic Objectives

Kwilu: Mulele's Redefinition of Maoism
III. Repression and Resurgence

8. Repression + Concession = Termination? Contrasts between Repression and Pacification
Taiping: Suppression without Accommodation
Telengana: Incorporation, Reform and the Ebbing of Rebellion

Mau Mau: Lessons from Malaya and the Loyalists' Role

Kwilu: Ineffectual Repression, Inept Pacification 9. The Continuity of Protests and the Significance of Politics



Anatomy of Rebellion provides an understanding of four rebellions that will make clear the factors that are crucial in the development of other rebellions. Seeking a political pattern in the process of rebellion, Claude Welch, Jr. , has investigated four large-scale rural uprisings that came close to becoming revolutions: the Taiping rebellion in China 1850-64, the Telengana uprising in India of 1946-51, the Mau Mau rebellion in Kenya of 1952-56, the Kwilu uprising in Zaire of 1963-65.

Weaving the facts of these rebellions with theories about political violence, Welch follows the rebellions through the initial stages of discontent to the explosion of violence to the suppression of the uprisings. He then challenges explanations of political violence, both Marxist and non-Marxist, that other scholars have proposed.

Rebellions have not been studied as thoroughly as the major successful revolutions, although the frequency of rebellions in the modern world is not likely to diminish. Rural dwellers' discontents are still clashing with central governments' ambitions; Anatomy of Rebellion clarifies how this volatile type of political violence occurs.