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The Genesis of Rebellion

Why Seamen Rebelled
The Genesis of Rebellion
Governance, Grievance, and Mutiny in the Age of Sail

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Print publication year: 2020
Online publication date: June 2020
4 - Why Seamen Rebelled
Steven Pfaff, University of Washington, Michael Hechter, Arizona State University
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108149853.005
pp 97-135
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Summary
To explain the occurrence of this form of high-risk collective action, this chapter shows that shipboard grievances were the principal cause of mutiny. However, not all grievances are equal in this respect. We distinguish between structural grievances that flow from incumbency in a subordinate social position and incidental grievances that incumbents have no expectation of suffering. Based on a case-control analysis of incidents of mutiny compared with controls drawn from a unique database of Royal Navy voyages from 1740 to 1820, in addition to a wealth of qualitative evidence, we find that mutiny was most likely to occur when structural grievances were combined with incidental ones.
Keywords:
structural grievances
incidental grievances
discipline
health
social structure
case-control method
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