Dangerous Youth: why Do Political Uprisings Take an Unarmed Form?

Dangerous Youth:
why Do Political Uprisings Take an Unarmed Form?

Ustyzhanin V.V.

стажер-исследователь Лаборатория мониторинга рисков социально-политической дестабилизации Национального исследовательского университета «Высшая школа экономики»; младший научный сотрудник международной лаборатории демографии и человеческого капитала Российской академии народного хозяйства и государственной службы, Москва, Россия. vvustiuzhanin@hse.ru

Zinkina Ju.V.

Cand. Sci. (Hist.), Senior Research Fellow, Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration, Moscow, Russia. juliazin@list.ru

Korotayev A.V.

Dr. Sci. (Hist.), Head of the Laboratory for Monitoring the Risks of Socio-Political Destabilization, National Research University “Higher School of Economics”; Chief Researcher at the Institute for African Studies of RAS, Moscow, Russia. akorotayev@gmail.com

ID of the Article:

The research was a part of the HSE Basic Research Program in 2023 with the support of the Russian Science Foundation (Project No. 21-18-00123).

For citation:

Ustyzhanin V.V., Zinkina Ju.V., Korotayev A.V. Dangerous Youth: why Do Political Uprisings Take an Unarmed Form?. Sotsiologicheskie issledovaniya [Sociological Studies]. 2023. No 5. P. 82-96


Quantitative cross-national studies of the factors of violent (armed) versus nonviolent (unarmed) revolutionary events are very few, and they do not pay enough attention to such a powerful factor as a high proportion of young people in the total adult population – the “youth bulge”. We assume that (1) revolutionary uprisings in countries with a greater youth bulge will be significantly more likely to take armed form than in countries with a significantly lower value of this indicator. We also assume that (2) the higher the median age of the population, the higher the likelihood for a revolutionary uprising to take an unarmed character. In general, both of our hypotheses are fully confirmed. Thus, there is a reason to believe that the significant increase in the median age of the population observed at the global level in the recent decades could have contributed to a noticeable decrease in the share of armed revolutionary uprisings and an increase in the share of unarmed ones.

youth bulge; median age; political instability; violent revolutionary uprisings; nonviolent revolutionary uprisings


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Content No 5, 2023