Sociology Index


Petite Bourgeoisie, Proletariat, Social Class

Bourgeois was originally a citizen or freeman of a city or burgh, as distinct from a peasant or a gentleman. Now, bourgeois is any member of the middle class. Bourgeois was formally a legal category in society, defined by conditions such as length of residence and source of income. Bourgeois was originally and particularly a French citizen or freeman of a city or burgh.

In feudal time the cities had become the place of business and residence of a growing class of merchants, professionals and crafts persons, who came to be seen as having a social status between the peasant class and the land owning or aristocratic class. Hence the idea that they were the middle class.

The artisans and tradesmen began to emerge as an economic force. They formed guilds, associations like craft unions and companies to conduct business and promote their own interests and became the original bourgeoisie. This new bourgeois or middle class came to feel oppressed by the traditions and restrictions of feudalism and aristocratic rule and eventually were able to grasp power and transform social values.

The bourgeoisie was initially accused of narrow-mindedness, materialism, hypocrisy, opposition to change, and lack of culture by Molière and Flaubert, who denounced its banality and mercenary aspirations.

Bourgeois are associated with the bloodless revolution of Great Britain in 1688 and the French Revolution in 1789. This new class also had a distinctive life style that came to be referred to as ‘bourgeois’.

The term bourgeois class, or bourgeoisie, was used by Karl Marx to refer to the corporate or capitalist class in modern societies that is thought, particularly in socialist ideas, to be also a ruling class. When reffering to individual members of this class, the proper term is “bourgeois.” When referring to the entire class, the proper term is “bourgeoisie”.

Bourgeoisie are the class of individuals who own the means of production. Bourgeoisie do not have to labour or sell their labour power to anyone and can instead earn their entire revenue by exploiting the labour power of the proletariat. Also a reason that makes them the rulling class of the capitalist epoch.

The Buoyant Class: Bourgeois Family Lineage in the Life Stories of Czech Business Elite Persons 
Vladimir Andrle, Department of Sociology The University of York 
Life-story interviews carried out in the Czech Republic confirm that the new business elite is dominated by men who had already achieved high managerial positions in the Communist era. More surprisingly, however, they also reveal a marked overrepresentation within this group of descendants of the national bourgeoisie that was expropriated when the Communists came to power in 1948. These 'buoyant class' life stories show some of the ways in which children of bourgeois lineage were able to negotiate their way around the Communist regime's 'class politics'. They also show how bourgeois family lineage can now be used as a resource for averting the potential moral stigma of a Communist-era senior executive career. The `buoyant class' appears to be a self-confident and significant component of the new Czech business elite.

Bourgeois Bohemians in China? Neo-Tribes and the Urban Imaginary
China Quarterly, No. 183, September, 2005. - Jing Wang MIT
Abstract: This article treats an understudied subject in popular culture studies: the mutual feed between lifestyle cultures and marketing through an examination of the Bobo fever in urban China. How did an imaginary class "bourgeois bohemians" emerge in a country where the bourgeois base is statistically small and where the bohemian equation is non-existent? To shed light on this popculture-turned-marketing-fad syndrome, the article introduces the concept of the "neo-tribes" and maps the pathways that link style cultures to consumer segmentation. A couple of critical questions arise from this exercise. First, is the separability of taste from class symptomatic of a "Chinese leap of faith"? And secondly, is the hottest market segment today, the "neo-neotribes" preparing us to address the convergence of a global youth culture?

Maria Ossowska - Moral Philosopher or Sociologist of Morals?
Marcin T. Zdrenka, Nicolaus Copernicus University, Poland
Bourgeois morality, psychology of morality and sociology of morality.
Maria Ossowska (1896–1974) was focused on the problem of a sociology of morality. At the time she was writing, a sociology of morals was not generally considered proper subject matter for moral philosophers. Yet ethics was already showing its weakness and calling out for a new reformulation. Maria Ossowska formulated a new project for moral philosophy involving a sociological perspective which not only understood ‘morality’ as a social phenomenon which could be researched with sociological methodology, but which also understood itself as remaining inextricably related to philosophical reflection. She divided her new ‘moral science’ into three parts: (1) an analysis of moral evaluations and norms; (2) a psychology of morality; and (3) a sociology of morality. In developing this program, Ossowska worked upon various themes or areas, including the moral thought of the British Enlightenment, the chivalrous ethos and bourgeois morality. She introduced and newly reformulated the term ‘ethos’, intending it both as a term of sociology and as related to normative ethics, which is part of moral philosophy.

Legal Positivism and Bourgeois Materialism: Max Weber's View of the Sociology of Law - Martin Albrow - British Journal of Law and Society, Vol. 2, No. 1 (Summer, 1975), pp. 14-31

A Critique of Contemporary Bourgeois Sociology. by A. I. Demidenko - Review author: Konstantin Symmons - American Sociological Review, Vol. 25, No. 1 (Feb., 1960), pp. 121-122.