John Markoff, PhD

  • Distinguished University Professor

I study the history of democratization, considered as a multi-continental process across several centuries. As national states became stronger, elite powerholders were challenged by the actions of those resisting the plans and practices of those on high. The forms of challenge have taken many forms, from the peasant insurrections of past centuries to the social movements that emerged in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and that continue, sometimes in new forms, in the twenty-first.

I've done a good deal of work on one very important episode, the French Revolution, and have also written on Latin American politics. More recently I have been exploring a broader geographic and temporal perspective. My current projects focus on three things: 1) the ways in which social movements and democratization have become profoundly intertwined; 2) transnational aspects of democratization including the implications of globalization for the future of democracy; 3) the ways in which the meanings of democracy have altered in social struggles.

Education & Training

  • PhD, The Johns Hopkins University, 1972
  • BA, Columbia College, 1962

Representative Publications

Selected Recent Publications (since 2015)

Daniel Burridge and John Markoff, “Globalization and Today’s Social Movements in Latin America,” in Federico Rossi, ed., The Oxford Handbook of Latin American Social Movements (Oxford: Oxford University Press, forthcoming).

John Markoff, Hillary Lazar and Jackie Smith, “Creative Disappointment: How Movements for Democracy Spawn Movements for Still More Democracy,” Research in Political Sociology 28 (2021): 237-262

Poland, 1945: War and Peace, a translation into English from the Polish of Magdalena Grzybałkowska, 1945. Wojna i Pokój (Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2020), tr. John Markoff and Małgorzata Markoff

“Overflowing Channels: How Democracy Didn’t Work as Planned (and Perhaps a Good Thing It Didn’t),” Sociological Theory 37 (2), 2019, pp. 184-208.

John Markoff and Daniel Burridge, “The Global Wave of Democratization and its Aftermath.” Pp. 82-99 in Christian W. Haerpfer, Ronald Inglehart, Chris Welzel and Patrick Bernhagen, Democratization in a Globalized World, 2nd edition (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2019).

Olas de Democracia: Movimientos Sociales y Cambio Político (with a new concluding chapter) (Granada: Editorial Comares, 2018).

Greetings from Novorossiya: Eyewitness to the War in Ukraine, a translation into English from the Polish of Paweł Pieniążek, Pozdrowienia z Noworosji (Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2017), tr. Małgorzata Markoff and John Markoff.

Mike-Frank Epitropoulos and John Markoff, “Once Again They Have a Word for It: Greeks Talk About the Global Age,” New Global Studies 11 (3), 2017:211-230, online:https://doi.org/10.1515/ngs-2017-0006.

“Essential Contestants, Essential Contests,” Research in Political Sociology 24, 2017, pp. 121-154.

Jackie Smith, Michael Goodhart, Patrick Manning and John Markoff, eds., Social Movements and World-System Transformation: Prospects and Challenges (London: Routledge, 2017).

“La legitimidad democrática hoy en día” [“Democratic legitimacy at the present moment”], Ayer (Revista de la Asociación de Historia Contemporánea) 102, 2016(2):259-273

 “Historical Analysis and Social Movements Research,” in Mario Diani and Donatella della Porta, eds., Oxford Handbook of Social Movements Research (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016), pp. 68-85.

Piotr Konieczny and John Markoff, “Poland’s Contentious Elites Enter the Age of Revolution: Extending Social Movement Concepts,” Sociological Forum 30 (2), 2015 (June): 286-304.

“Revolutions” in James D. Wright, International Encyclopedia of the Social and Behavioral Sciences, 2nd edition (Oxford: Elsevier, 2015), 20:642-649.

"Archival Methods" in James D. Wright, International Encyclopedia of the Social and Behavioral Sciences, 2nd edition (Oxford: Elsevier, 2015), 1:909-915. 

Verónica Montecinos and John Markoff, eds., Economistas en las Américas (Santiago, Chile: Ediciones Universidad Diego Portales, 2015).

Waves of Democracy. Social Movements and Political Change. Second edition. (Boulder and London: Paradigm Publishing, 2015).

Research Interests

  • History of democracy in the world since the 18th century
  • Looking at the ways in which social movements and democratization have become profoundly intertwined
  • Transnational aspects of democratization including the implications of globalization for the future of democracy
  • The ways in which the meaning of democracy has altered in social struggles
  • Democratic struggles in 4 small Andalusian towns since the mid-nineteenth century (with Antonio Herrera González de Molina
  • The turn toward anarchism by twenty-first century social movements (with Danny Burridge, Ben Case, and Hillary Lazar)
  • Rethinking the place of Latin America in the world history of democracy since the early nineteenth century (with Gabriel Chouhy and Danny Burridge)
  • social movements
  • comparative revolutions
  • democratization
  • political sociology

CV