Bourgeoisie

The bourgeoisie (/ˌbʊərʒwɑːˈziː/; French: [buʁʒwazi]) is a polysemous French term that can mean:

  • a sociologically defined class, especially in contemporary times, referring to people with a certain cultural and financial capital belonging to the middle or upper middle class: the upper (haute), middle (moyenne), and petty (petite) bourgeoisie (which are collectively designated "the bourgeoisie"); an affluent and often opulent stratum of the middle class who stand opposite the proletariat class.[1]
  • originally and generally, "those who live in the borough", that is to say, the people of the city (including merchants and craftsmen), as opposed to those of rural areas; in this sense, the bourgeoisie began to grow in Europe from the 11th century and particularly during the Renaissance of the 12th century (i.e., the onset of the High Middle Ages), with the first developments of rural exodus and urbanization.
  • a legally defined class of the Middle Ages to the end of the Ancien Régime (Old Regime) in France, that of inhabitants having the rights of citizenship and political rights in a city (comparable to the German term Bürgertum and Bürger; see also "Burgher").

The "bourgeoisie" in its original sense is intimately linked to the existence of cities recognized as such by their urban charters (e.g. municipal charter, town privileges, German town law), so there was no bourgeoisie "outside the walls of the city" beyond which the people were "peasants" submitted to the stately courts and manorialism (except for the traveling "fair bourgeoisie" living outside urban territories, who retained their city rights and domicile).

In Marxist philosophy, the bourgeoisie is the social class that came to own the means of production during modern industrialization and whose societal concerns are the value of property and the preservation of capital to ensure the perpetuation of their economic supremacy in society.[2]

Joseph Schumpeter saw the incorporation of new elements into an expanding bourgeoisie, particularly entrepreneurs who took risks to bring innovation to industries and the economy through the process of creative destruction, as the driving force behind the capitalist engine. [3]

Etymology

The Modern French word bourgeois derived from the Old French burgeis (walled city), which derived from bourg (market town), from the Old Frankish burg (town); in other European languages, the etymologic derivations include the Middle English burgeis, the Middle Dutch burgher, the German Bürger, the Modern English burgess, and the Polish burżuazja, which occasionally is synonymous with the "intelligentsia".[4] In its literal sense, bourgeois in Old French (burgeis, borjois) means "town dweller".

In English, the word "bourgeoisie" (a French citizen-class) identified a social class oriented to economic materialism and hedonism, and to upholding the extreme political and economic interests of the capitalist ruling-class.[5] In the 18th century, before the French Revolution (1789–99), in the French feudal order, the masculine and feminine terms bourgeois and bourgeoise identified the rich men and women who were members of the urban and rural Third Estate – the common people of the French realm, who violently deposed the absolute monarchy of the Bourbon King Louis XVI (r. 1774–91), his clergy, and his aristocrats in the French Revolution of 1789-1799. Hence, since the 19th century, the term "bourgeoisie" usually is politically and sociologically synonymous with the ruling upper-class of a capitalist society.[6]

Historically, the medieval French word bourgeois denoted the inhabitants of the bourgs (walled market-towns), the craftsmen, artisans, merchants, and others, who constituted "the bourgeoisie", they were the socio-economic class between the peasants and the landlords, between the workers and the owners of the means of production. As the economic managers of the (raw) materials, the goods, and the services, and thus the capital (money) produced by the feudal economy, the term "bourgeoisie" evolved to also denote the middle class – the businessmen and businesswomen who accumulated, administered, and controlled the capital that made possible the development of the bourgs into cities.[7]

Contemporarily, the terms "bourgeoisie" and "bourgeois" (noun) identify the ruling class in capitalist societies, as a social stratum; while "bourgeois" (adjective / noun modifier) describes the Weltanschauung (worldview) of men and women whose way of thinking is socially and culturally determined by their economic materialism and philistinism, a social identity famously mocked in Molière's comedy Le Bourgeois gentilhomme (1670), which satirises buying the trappings of a noble-birth identity as the means of climbing the social ladder.[8][9] The 18th century saw a partial rehabilitation of bourgeois values in genres such as the drame bourgeois (bourgeois drama) and "bourgeois tragedy".

History

Origins and rise

Fuggerkontor
The 16th-century German banker Jakob Fugger and his principal accountant, M. Schwarz, registering an entry to a ledger. The background shows a file cabinet indicating the European cities where the Fugger Bank conducts business. (1517)

The bourgeoisie emerged as a historical and political phenomenon in the 11th century when the bourgs of Central and Western Europe developed into cities dedicated to commerce. This urban expansion was possible thanks to economic concentration due to the appearance of protective self-organisation into guilds. Guilds arose when individual businessmen (such as craftsmen, artisans and merchants) conflicted with their rent-seeking feudal landlords who demanded greater rents than previously agreed.

In the event, by the end of the Middle Ages (c. AD 1500), under régimes of the early national monarchies of Western Europe, the bourgeoisie acted in self-interest, and politically supported the king or queen against legal and financial disorder caused by the greed of the feudal lords. In the late-16th and early 17th centuries, the bourgeoisies of England and the Netherlands had become the financial – thus political – forces that deposed the feudal order; economic power had vanquished military power in the realm of politics.[7]

From progress to reaction

During the 17th and 18th centuries, the bourgeoisie were the politically progressive social class who supported the principles of constitutional government and of natural right, against the Law of Privilege and the claims of rule by divine right that the nobles and prelates had autonomously exercised during the feudal order.

The English Civil War (1642–51), the American War of Independence (1775–83), and French Revolution (1789–99) were partly motivated by the desire of the bourgeoisie to rid themselves of the feudal and royal encroachments on their personal liberty, commercial prospects, and the ownership of property. In the 19th century, the bourgeoisie propounded liberalism, and gained political rights, religious rights, and civil liberties for themselves and the lower social classes; thus the bourgeoisie was a progressive philosophic and political force in Western societies.

After the Industrial Revolution (1750–1850), by the mid-19th century the great expansion of the bourgeoisie social class caused its stratification – by business activity and by economic function – into the haute bourgeoisie (bankers and industrialists) and the petite bourgeoisie (tradesmen and white-collar workers). Moreover, by the end of the 19th century, the capitalists (the original bourgeoisie) had ascended to the upper class, while the developments of technology and technical occupations allowed the rise of working-class men and women to the lower strata of the bourgeoisie; yet the social progress was incidental.

Denotations

Marxist theory

According to Karl Marx, the bourgeois during Middle Ages usually was a self-employed businessman – such as a merchant, banker, or entrepreneur – whose economic role in society was being the financial intermediary to the feudal landlord and the peasant who worked the fief, the land of the lord. Yet, by the 18th century, the time of the Industrial Revolution (1750–1850) and of industrial capitalism, the bourgeoisie had become the economic ruling class who owned the means of production (capital and land), and who controlled the means of coercion (armed forces and legal system, police forces and prison system).

In such a society, the bourgeoisie's ownership of the means of production allowed them to employ and exploit the wage-earning working class (urban and rural), people whose only economic means is labour; and the bourgeois control of the means of coercion suppressed the sociopolitical challenges by the lower classes, and so preserved the economic status quo; workers remained workers, and employers remained employers.[10]

In the 19th century, Marx distinguished two types of bourgeois capitalist: (i) the functional capitalists, who are business administrators of the means of production; and (ii) rentier capitalists whose livelihoods derive either from the rent of property or from the interest-income produced by finance capital, or both.[11] In the course of economic relations, the working class and the bourgeoisie continually engage in class struggle, where the capitalists exploit the workers, while the workers resist their economic exploitation, which occurs because the worker owns no means of production, and, to earn a living, he or she seeks employment from the bourgeois capitalist; the worker produces goods and services that are property of the employer, who sells them for a price.

Besides describing the social class who owns the means of production, the Marxist use of the term "bourgeois" also describes the consumerist style of life derived from the ownership of capital and real property. Marx acknowledged the bourgeois industriousness that created wealth, but criticised the moral hypocrisy of the bourgeoisie when they ignored the alleged origins of their wealth: the exploitation of the proletariat, the urban and rural workers. Further sense denotations of "bourgeois" describe ideological concepts such as "bourgeois freedom", which is thought to be opposed to substantive forms of freedom; "bourgeois independence"; "bourgeois personal individuality"; the "bourgeois family"; et cetera, all derived from owning capital and property (see The Communist Manifesto, 1848).

France and French-speaking countries

In English, the term bourgeoisie is often used to denote the middle classes. In fact, the French term encompasses both the upper and middle classes,[12] a misunderstanding which has occurred in other languages as well. The bourgeoisie in France and many French-speaking countries consists of four evolving social layers: petite bourgeoisie, moyenne bourgeoisie, grande bourgeoisie, and haute bourgeoisie.

Petite bourgeoisie

The petite bourgeoisie is the equivalent of the modern-day middle class, or refers to "a social class between the middle class and the lower class: the lower middle class".[13]

Moyenne bourgeoisie

The moyenne bourgeoisie or middle bourgeoisie contains people who have solid incomes and assets, but not the aura of those who have become established at a higher level. They tend to belong to a family that has been bourgeois for three or more generations. Some members of this class may have relatives from similar backgrounds, or may even have aristocratic connections. The moyenne bourgeoisie is the equivalent of the British and American upper-middle classes.

Grande bourgeoisie

The grande bourgeoisie are families that have been bourgeois since the 19th century, or for at least four or five generations. Members of these families tend to marry with the aristocracy or make other advantageous marriages. This bourgeois family has acquired an established historical and cultural heritage over the decades. The names of these families are generally known in the city where they reside, and their ancestors have often contributed to the region's history. These families are respected and revered. They belong to the upper class, and in the British class system are considered part of the gentry. In the French-speaking countries, they are sometimes referred la petite haute bourgeoisie.

Haute bourgeoisie

The haute bourgeoisie is a social rank in the bourgeoisie that can only be acquired through time. In France, it is composed of bourgeois families that have existed since the French Revolution. They hold only honourable professions and have experienced many illustrious marriages in their family's history. They have rich cultural and historical heritages, and their financial means are more than secure.

These families exude an aura of nobility, which prevents them from certain marriages or occupations. They only differ from nobility in that due to circumstances, the lack of opportunity, and/or political regime, they have not been ennobled. These people nevertheless live a lavish lifestyle, enjoying the company of the great artists of the time. In France, the families of the haute bourgeoisie are also referred to as les 200 familles, a term coined in the first half of the 20th century. Michel Pinçon and Monique Pinçon-Charlot studied the lifestyle of the French bourgeoisie, and how they boldly guard their world from the nouveau riche, or newly rich.

In the French language, the term bourgeoisie almost designates a caste by itself, even though social mobility into this socio-economic group is possible. Nevertheless, the bourgeoisie is differentiated from la classe moyenne, or the middle class, which consists mostly of white-collar employees, by holding a profession referred to as a profession libérale, which la classe moyenne, in its definition does not hold. Yet, in English the definition of a white-collar job encompasses the profession libérale.

Nazism

Nazism rejected the Marxist concept of internationalist class struggle, but supported the "class struggle between nations", and sought to resolve internal class struggle in the nation while it identified Germany as a proletariat nation fighting against plutocratic nations.[14]

The Nazi Party had many working-class supporters and members, and a strong appeal to the middle class. The financial collapse of the white collar middle-class of the 1920s figures much in their strong support of Nazism.[15] In the poor country that was the Weimar Republic of the early 1930s, the Nazi Party realised their socialist policies with food and shelter for the unemployed and the homeless—who were later recruited into the Brownshirt Sturmabteilung (SA – Storm Detachments).[15]

Hitler was impressed by the populist antisemitism and the anti-liberal bourgeois agitation of Karl Lueger, who as the mayor of Vienna during Hitler's time in the city used a rabble-rousing style of oratory that appealed to the wider masses.[16] When asked whether he supported the "bourgeois right-wing", Adolf Hitler claimed that Nazism was not exclusively for any class, and he also indicated that it favoured neither the left nor the right, but preserved "pure" elements from both "camps", stating: "From the camp of bourgeois tradition, it takes national resolve, and from the materialism of the Marxist dogma, living, creative Socialism".[17]

Hitler distrusted capitalism for being unreliable due to its egotism, and he preferred a state-directed economy that is subordinated to the interests of the Volk.[18]

Hitler told a party leader in 1934, "The economic system of our day is the creation of the Jews".[18] Hitler said to Benito Mussolini that capitalism had "run its course".[18] Hitler also said that the business bourgeoisie "know nothing except their profit. 'Fatherland' is only a word for them."[19] Hitler was personally disgusted with the ruling bourgeois elites of Germany during the period of the Weimar Republic, who he referred to as "cowardly shits".[20]

Modern history

Because of their ascribed cultural excellence as a social class, the Italian fascist régime (1922–45) of Prime Minister Benito Mussolini regarded the bourgeoisie as an obstacle to Modernism.[21] Nonetheless, the Fascist State ideologically exploited the Italian bourgeoisie and their materialistic, middle-class spirit, for the more efficient cultural manipulation of the upper (aristocratic) and the lower (working) classes of Italy.

In 1938, Prime Minister Mussolini gave a speech wherein he established a clear ideological distinction between capitalism (the social function of the bourgeoisie) and the bourgeoisie (as a social class), whom he dehumanised by reducing them into high-level abstractions: a moral category and a state of mind.[21] Culturally and philosophically, Mussolini isolated the bourgeoisie from Italian society by portraying them as social parasites upon the fascist Italian state and "The People"; as a social class who drained the human potential of Italian society, in general, and of the working class, in particular; as exploiters who victimised the Italian nation with an approach to life characterised by hedonism and materialism.[21] Nevertheless, despite the slogan The Fascist Man Disdains the ″Comfortable″ Life, which epitomised the anti-bourgeois principle, in its final years of power, for mutual benefit and profit, the Mussolini fascist régime transcended ideology to merge the political and financial interests of Prime Minister Benito Mussolini with the political and financial interests of the bourgeoisie, the Catholic social circles who constituted the ruling class of Italy.

Philosophically, as a materialist creature, the bourgeois man was stereotyped as irreligious; thus, to establish an existential distinction between the supernatural faith of the Roman Catholic Church and the materialist faith of temporal religion; in The Autarchy of Culture: Intellectuals and Fascism in the 1930s, the priest Giuseppe Marino said that:

Christianity is essentially anti-bourgeois. ... A Christian, a true Christian, and thus a Catholic, is the opposite of a bourgeois.[22]

Culturally, the bourgeois man may be considered effeminate, infantile, or acting in a pretentious manner; describing his philistinism in Bonifica antiborghese (1939), Roberto Paravese comments on the:

Middle class, middle man, incapable of great virtue or great vice: and there would be nothing wrong with that, if only he would be willing to remain as such; but, when his child-like or feminine tendency to camouflage pushes him to dream of grandeur, honours, and thus riches, which he cannot achieve honestly with his own "second-rate" powers, then the average man compensates with cunning, schemes, and mischief; he kicks out ethics, and becomes a bourgeois.

The bourgeois is the average man who does not accept to remain such, and who, lacking the strength sufficient for the conquest of essential values—those of the spirit—opts for material ones, for appearances.[23]

The economic security, financial freedom, and social mobility of the bourgeoisie threatened the philosophic integrity of Italian fascism, the ideological monolith that was the régime of Prime Minister Benito Mussolini. Any assumption of legitimate political power (government and rule) by the bourgeoisie represented a fascist loss of totalitarian state power for social control through political unity—one people, one nation, and one leader. Sociologically, to the fascist man, to become a bourgeois was a character flaw inherent to the masculine mystique; therefore, the ideology of Italian fascism scornfully defined the bourgeois man as "spiritually castrated".[23]

Bourgeois culture

Cultural hegemony

Karl Marx said that the culture of a society is dominated by the mores of the ruling-class, wherein their superimposed value system is abided by each social class (the upper, the middle, the lower) regardless of the socio-economic results it yields to them. In that sense, contemporary societies are bourgeois to the degree that they practice the mores of the small-business "shop culture" of early modern France; which the writer Émile Zola (1840–1902) naturalistically presented, analysed, and ridiculed in the twenty-two-novel series (1871–1893) about Les Rougon-Macquart family; the thematic thrust is the necessity for social progress, by subordinating the economic sphere to the social sphere of life.[24]

Conspicuous consumption

Żywiecki strój mieszczański 01
Clothing worn by ladies belonging to the bourgeoisie of Żywiec, Poland, 19th century (collection of the Żywiec City Museum)

The critical analyses of the bourgeois mentality by the German intellectual Walter Benjamin (1892–1940) indicated that the shop culture of the petite bourgeoisie established the sitting room as the centre of personal and family life; as such, the English bourgeois culture is, he alleges, a sitting-room culture of prestige through conspicuous consumption. The material culture of the bourgeoisie concentrated on mass-produced luxury goods of high quality; between generations, the only variance was the materials with which the goods were manufactured.

In the early part of the 19th century, the bourgeois house contained a home that first was stocked and decorated with hand-painted porcelain, machine-printed cotton fabrics, machine-printed wallpaper, and Sheffield steel (crucible and stainless). The utility of these things was inherent to their practical functions. By the latter part of the 19th century, the bourgeois house contained a home that had been remodelled by conspicuous consumption. Here, Benjamin argues, the goods were bought to display wealth (discretionary income), rather than for their practical utility. The bourgeoisie had transposed the wares of the shop window to the sitting room, where the clutter of display signalled bourgeois success.[25] (See: Culture and Anarchy, 1869.)

Two spatial constructs manifest the bourgeois mentality: (i) the shop-window display, and (ii) the sitting room. In English, the term "sitting-room culture" is synonymous for "bourgeois mentality", a "philistine" cultural perspective from the Victorian Era (1837–1901), especially characterised by the repression of emotion and of sexual desire; and by the construction of a regulated social-space where "propriety" is the key personality trait desired in men and women.[25]

Nonetheless, from such a psychologically constricted worldview, regarding the rearing of children, contemporary sociologists claim to have identified "progressive" middle-class values, such as respect for non-conformity, self-direction, autonomy, gender equality and the encouragement of innovation; as in the Victorian Era, the transposition to the US of the bourgeois system of social values has been identified as a requisite for employment success in the professions.[26][27]

Le-bourgeois-gentilhomme
The prototypical bourgeois, Monsieur Jourdain, the protagonist in Molière's play Le Bourgeois gentilhomme (1670)

Bourgeois values are dependent on rationalism, which began with the economic sphere and moves into every sphere of life which is formulated by Max Weber.[28] The beginning of rationalism is commonly called the Age of Reason. Much like the Marxist critics of that period, Weber was concerned with the growing ability of large corporations and nations to increase their power and reach throughout the world.

Representations

Beyond the intellectual realms of political economy, history, and political science that discuss, describe, and analyse the bourgeoisie as a social class, the colloquial usage of the sociological terms bourgeois and bourgeoise describe the social stereotypes of the old money and of the nouveau riche, who is a politically timid conformist satisfied with a wealthy, consumerist style of life characterised by conspicuous consumption and the continual striving for prestige.[29][30] This being the case, the cultures of the world describe the philistinism of the middle-class personality, produced by the excessively rich life of the bourgeoisie, is examined and analysed in comedic and dramatic plays, novels, and films. (See: Authenticity.)

Molière - Nicolas Mignard (1658)
The 17th-century French playwright Molière (1622–73) catalogued the social-climbing essence of the bourgeoisie in Le Bourgeois gentilhomme (1670)

Theatre

Le Bourgeois gentilhomme (The Would-be Gentleman, 1670) by Molière (Jean-Baptiste Poquelin), is a comedy-ballet that satirises Monsieur Jourdain, the prototypical nouveau riche man who buys his way up the social-class scale, to realise his aspirations of becoming a gentleman, to which end he studies dancing, fencing, and philosophy, the trappings and accomplishments of a gentleman, to be able to pose as a man of noble birth, someone who, in 17th-century France, was a man to the manner born; Jourdain's self-transformation also requires managing the private life of his daughter, so that her marriage can also assist his social ascent.[9][31]

Literature

Thomas Mann in 1926
Thomas Mann (1875–1955) portrayed the moral, intellectual, and physical decadence of the German upper bourgeoisie in the novel Buddenbrooks (1926)

Buddenbrooks (1901), by Thomas Mann (1875–1955), chronicles the moral, intellectual, and physical decay of a rich family through its declines, material and spiritual, in the course of four generations, beginning with the patriarch Johann Buddenbrook Sr. and his son, Johann Buddenbrook Jr., who are typically successful German businessmen; each is a reasonable man of solid character.

Yet, in the children of Buddenbrook Jr., the materially comfortable style of life provided by the dedication to solid, middle-class values elicits decadence: The fickle daughter, Toni, lacks and does not seek a purpose in life; son Christian is honestly decadent, and lives the life of a ne'er-do-well; and the businessman son, Thomas, who assumes command of the Buddenbrook family fortune, occasionally falters from middle-class solidity by being interested in art and philosophy, the impractical life of the mind, which, to the bourgeoisie, is the epitome of social, moral, and material decadence.[32][33][34]

Babbitt (1922), by Sinclair Lewis (1885–1951), satirizes the American bourgeois George Follansbee Babbitt, a middle-aged realtor, booster, and joiner in the Midwestern city of Zenith, who – despite being unimaginative, self-important, and hopelessly conformist and middle-class – is aware that there must be more to life than money and the consumption of the best things that money can buy. Nevertheless, he fears being excluded from the mainstream of society more than he does living for himself, by being true to himself – his heart-felt flirtations with independence (dabbling in liberal politics and a love affair with a pretty widow) come to naught because he is existentially afraid.

Luis Buñuel
The Spanish cinéast Luis Buñuel (1900–83) depicted the tortuous mentality and self-destructive hypocrisy of the bourgeoisie

Yet, George F. Babbitt sublimates his desire for self-respect, and encourages his son to rebel against the conformity that results from bourgeois prosperity, by recommending that he be true to himself:

Don't be scared of the family. No, nor all of Zenith. Nor of yourself, the way I've been.[35]

Films

The comedy films by the Spanish film director Luis Buñuel (1900–1983) examine the mental and moral effects of the bourgeois mentality, its culture, and the stylish way of life it provides for its practitioners.

See also

References

  1. ^ "bourgeoisie Facts, information, pictures | Encyclopedia.com articles about bourgeoisie". www.encyclopedia.com. Retrieved 28 September 2016.
  2. ^ Bourgeois Society
  3. ^ Joseph A. Schumpeter, Capitalism, Socialism, and Democracy',' pages 83–84, 134
  4. ^ The Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology C. T. Onions, Editor (1995) p. 110.
  5. ^ Oxford English Reference Dictionary Second Edition (1996) p. 196.
  6. ^ Dictionary of Historical Terms, Chris Cook, Editor (1983), p. 267.
  7. ^ a b "Bourgeoisie", The Columbia Encyclopedia, Fifth Edition. (1994) p. 0000.
  8. ^ Benét's Reader's Encyclopedia Third Edition (1987) p. 118, p. 759.
  9. ^ a b Molière, ed. Warren 1899
  10. ^ The Class Struggles in France, 1848 to 1850, Works of Karl Marx, 1850
  11. ^ A Dictionary of Marxist Thought, T.B. Bottomore, p. 272
  12. ^ Béatrix Le Wita, J. A. Underwood (16 June 1994). French Bourgeois Culture. ISBN 9780521466264.
  13. ^ "the petite bourgeoisie". Merriam-Webster. Retrieved 26 January 2018.
  14. ^ David Nicholls. Adolf Hitler: A Biographical Companion. Santa Barbara, California, USA: ABC-CLIO, 2000. p. 245.
  15. ^ a b Burleigh, Michael. The Third Reich: A New History, New York, USA: Hill and Wang, 2000. p. 77.
  16. ^ David Nicholls. Adolf Hitler: A Biographical Companion. Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA: University of North Carolina Press, 2000. pp. 159–160.
  17. ^ Adolf Hitler, Max Domarus. The Essential Hitler: Speeches and Commentary. pp. 171, 172–173.
  18. ^ a b c Overy, R.J., The Dictators: Hitler's Germany and Stalin's Russia, W. W. Norton & Company, Inc., 2004. p. 399
  19. ^ Overy, R.J., The Dictators: Hitler's Germany and Stalin's Russia, W. W. Norton & Company, Inc., 2004. p. 230.
  20. ^ Kritika: explorations in Russian and Eurasian history, Volume 7, Issue 4. Slavica Publishers, 2006. Pp. 922.
  21. ^ a b c Bellassai, Sandro (2005) "The Masculine Mystique: Anti-Modernism and Virility in Fascist Italy", Journal of Modern Italian Studies, 3, pp. 314–335.
  22. ^ Marino, Giuseppe Carlo (1983) L'autarchia della cultura. Intellettuali e fascismo negli anni trenta, Roma: Editori Riuniti.
  23. ^ a b Paravese, Roberto (1939) "Bonifica antiborghese", in Edgardo Sulis (ed.), Processo alla borghesia, Roma: Edizioni Roma, pp. 51–70.
  24. ^ Émile Zola, Le Rougon-Macquart (1871–1893).
  25. ^ a b Walter Benjamin, The Halles Project.
  26. ^ Gilbert, Dennis (1998). The American Class Structure. New York: Wadsworth Publishing. 0-534-50520-1.
  27. ^ Williams, Brian; Stacey C. Sawyer; Carl M. Wahlstrom (2005). Marriages, Families & Intimate Relationships. Boston, MA: Pearson. 0-205-36674-0.
  28. ^ Weber, Max (1927). General economic history. UK: London: Allen & Unwin. 1306359007.
  29. ^ Howard Zinn. A People's History of the United States (1980)
  30. ^ Sven Beckert "Propertied of Different Kind: Bourgeoisie and Lower Middle Class in the Nineteenth-Century United States" in The Middling Sorts: Explorations in the History of the American Middle Class (2001) Burton J. Bledstein and Robert D. Johnston, Eds. (2001)
  31. ^ Benét's Reader's Encyclopedia Third Edition (1987) p. 118, p. 512.
  32. ^ Benét's Reader's Encyclopedia Third Edition (1987) p. 118, p. 137.
  33. ^ Charles Neider, The Stature of Thomas Mann (1968)
  34. ^ Wolfgang Beutin, A history of German Literature: From the Beginnings to the Present Day (1993) Routledge, 1993, ISBN 0-415-06034-6, p. 433.
  35. ^ Benét's Reader's Encyclopedia Third Edition (1987) p. 65.
  36. ^ see this review by Roger Ebert
  37. ^ Kinder (ed.) 1999

Further reading

External links

Antonio Gramsci

Antonio Francesco Gramsci (UK: , US: , Italian: [anˈtɔːnjo franˈtʃesko ˈɡramʃi] (listen); 22 January 1891 – 27 April 1937) was an Italian Marxist philosopher and communist politician. He wrote on political theory, sociology and linguistics. He attempted to break from the economic determinism of traditional Marxist thought and so is considered a key neo-Marxist. He was a founding member and one-time leader of the Communist Party of Italy and was imprisoned by Benito Mussolini's Fascist regime.

He wrote more than 30 notebooks and 3,000 pages of history and analysis during his imprisonment. His Prison Notebooks are considered a highly original contribution to 20th century political theory. Gramsci drew insights from varying sources – not only other Marxists but also thinkers such as Niccolò Machiavelli, Vilfredo Pareto, Georges Sorel and Benedetto Croce. The notebooks cover a wide range of topics, including Italian history and nationalism, the French Revolution, fascism, Fordism, civil society, folklore, religion and high and popular culture.

Gramsci is best known for his theory of cultural hegemony, which describes how the state and ruling capitalist class – the bourgeoisie – use cultural institutions to maintain power in capitalist societies. The bourgeoisie, in Gramsci's view, develops a hegemonic culture using ideology rather than violence, economic force, or coercion. Hegemonic culture propagates its own values and norms so that they become the "common sense" values of all and thus maintain the status quo. Hegemonic power is therefore used to maintain consent to the capitalist order, rather than coercive power using force to maintain order. This cultural hegemony is produced and reproduced by the dominant class through the institutions that form the superstructure.

Bürgergemeinde

The Bürgergemeinde (also Burgergemeinde, Ortsgemeinde, Ortsbürgergemeinde, Tagwen, bourgeoisie, commune bourgeoise, vischnanca burgaisa, English: Citizen's Community) is a statutory corporation in public law in Switzerland. It includes all individuals who are citizens of the Bürgergemeinde, usually by having inherited the Bourgeoisie (citizenship), regardless of where they were born or where they may currently live. Membership of the Bürgergemeinde of a municipality is not to be confused with holding the municipality's citizenship, which, in certain cantons such as Valais, are two distinct legal concepts. Instead of the place of birth, Swiss legal documents, e.g. passports, contain the Heimatort (place of origin). It is, however, possible for a person to not possess bourgeoisie of the municipality from which they originate; laws relating to these matters vary depending on the canton in which the Bürgergemeinde is located. The Bürgergemeinde also often holds and administers the common property which had been bequeathed or otherwise given to the members of the bourgeoisie. The political communes or municipalities, the parish and the Bürgergemeinde often include the same area but may be separate depending on the relevant cantonal law. With the increase in mobility since the first half of the 19th century, the Bürgergemeinde and the rights associated with citizenship in the municipality have lost most of their meaning. Today, in Switzerland there are nearly 2000 Bürgergemeinden and corporations.

Capitalist state

The capitalist state is the state, its functions and the form of organization it takes within capitalist socioeconomic systems. This concept is often used interchangeably with the concept of the modern state, though there are many differences in sociological characteristics among capitalist states despite their common functions.The primary functions of the capitalist state are to provide a legal framework and infrastructural framework that is conducive to business enterprise and the accumulation of capital. Different normative theories exist on the necessary and appropriate function of the state in a capitalist economy, with proponents of laissez-faire favoring a state limited to the provision of public goods and safeguarding private property rights while proponents of interventionism stress the importance of regulation, intervention and economic stabilization in providing the framework for the accumulation of capital and business.For Karl Marx, the capitalist state is understood to be a reflection of the economic base, with its chief function reflecting the needs of the capitalist economy. This involves creating the legal and infrastructural framework (the superstructure) that facilitates capitalism as well as balancing the needs of the various classes to ensure the perpetuation of capitalism. This often involves attempts to safeguard state policy from being used to benefit specific capitalists or firms at the expense of the bourgeoisie as a whole. Hence, Marx described the function of the executive of a capitalist state as "nothing but a committee for managing the common affairs of the whole bourgeoisie". Specifically, in Marx's view the capitalist state necessarily exists to serve the interests of capitalists (referred to as the bourgeoisie), not as a defect, but as a necessary feature of capitalism. Thus, thinkers in the Marxist tradition often refer to the capitalist state as the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie. Thinkers in the instrumental Marxist tradition stress the role of policymakers and political elites sharing a common business or class background, leading to their decisions reflecting their class interest. This is differentiated from more contemporary notions of state capture by specific business interests for the benefit of those specific businesses and not the ruling class or capitalist system as a whole, which is variously referred to as crony capitalism or corporatocracy.

Comprador

A comprador or compradore (English: ) is a "person who acts as an agent for foreign organizations engaged in investment, trade, or economic or political exploitation". A comprador is a native manager of European business houses in East and South East Asia, and, by extension, social groups that play broadly similar roles in other parts of the world.

Dictatorship of the proletariat

In Marxist philosophy, the dictatorship of the proletariat is a state of affairs in which the working class hold political power. Proletarian dictatorship is the intermediate stage between a capitalist economy and a communist economy, whereby the government nationalises ownership of the means of production from private to collective ownership. The socialist revolutionary Joseph Weydemeyer coined the term "dictatorship of the proletariat", which Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels adopted to their philosophy and economics. The Paris Commune (1871), which controlled the capital city for two months, before being suppressed, was an example of the dictatorship of the proletariat. In Marxist philosophy, the term "Dictatorship of the bourgeoisie" is the antonym to "dictatorship of the proletariat".The term "dictatorship" indicates the retention of the state apparatus, but differs from individual dictatorship, the rule of one man. The term 'dictatorship of the proletariat implies the complete "socialization of the major means of production", the planning of material production in service to the social and economic needs of the population, such as the right to work, education, health and welfare services, public housing.

There are multiple popular trends for this political thought, all of which believe the state will be retained post-revolution for its enforcement capabilities:

Marxism–Leninism follows the ideas of Marxism and Leninism as interpreted by Vladimir Lenin's successor Joseph Stalin. It seeks to organise a vanguard party, as advocated by Marx, and to lead a proletarian uprising, to assume state power on behalf of the proletariat and to construct a single-party "socialist state" representing a dictatorship of the proletariat, governed through the process of democratic centralism, which Lenin described as "diversity in discussion, unity in action". Marxism–Leninism forms the official ideology of the ruling parties of China, Cuba, Laos and Vietnam, and was the official ideology of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union from the late 1920's, and later of the other ruling parties making up the Eastern Bloc.

Libertarian Marxists criticize Marxism–Leninism for perceived differences from orthodox Marxism, opposing the Leninist principle of democratic centralism and the Marxist-Leninist interpretation of vanguardism. Along with Trotskyists, they also oppose the use of a one-party state which they view as inherently undemocratic, although Trotskyists are still Bolsheviks, subscribing to democratic centralism and soviet democracy, seeing their ideology as a more accurate interpretation of Leninism. Rosa Luxemburg, a Marxist theorist, emphasized the role of the vanguard party as representative of the whole class, and the dictatorship of the proletariat as the entire proletariat's rule, characterizing the dictatorship of the proletariat as a concept meant to expand democracy rather than reduce it - as opposed to minority rule in the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie.In The Road to Serfdom (1944), the neoliberal economist Friedrich Hayek wrote that the dictatorship of the proletariat likely would destroy personal freedom as completely as does an autocracy. The European Commission of Human Rights found pursuing the dictatorship of the proletariat incompatible with the European Convention on Human Rights in Communist Party of Germany v. the Federal Republic of Germany (1957).

French Revolution of 1848

The 1848 Revolution in France, sometimes known as the February Revolution (révolution de Février), was one of a wave of revolutions in 1848 in Europe. In France the revolutionary events ended the July Monarchy (1830–1848) and led to the creation of the French Second Republic.

Following the overthrow of King Louis Philippe in February 1848, the elected government of the Second Republic ruled France. In the months that followed, this government steered a course that became more conservative. On 23 June 1848, the people of Paris rose in insurrection, which became known as June Days uprising – a bloody but unsuccessful rebellion by the Paris workers against a conservative turn in the Republic's course. On 2 December 1848, Louis Napoléon Bonaparte was elected president of the Second Republic, largely on peasant support. Exactly three years later he suspended the elected assembly, establishing the Second French Empire, which lasted until 1870. Louis Napoléon went on to become the de facto last French monarch.

The February revolution established the principle of the "right to work" (droit au travail), and its newly established government created "National Workshops" for the unemployed. At the same time a sort of industrial parliament was established at the Luxembourg Palace, under the presidency of Louis Blanc, with the object of preparing a scheme for the organization of labour. These tensions between liberal Orléanist and Radical Republicans and Socialists led to the June Days Uprising.

Intensification of the class struggle under socialism

The theory of aggravation of the class struggle along with the development of socialism was one of the cornerstones of Stalinism in the internal politics of the Soviet Union. Although the term class struggle was introduced by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels and aggravation of class struggle was an expression originally coined by Vladimir Lenin in 1919 to refer to the dictatorship of the proletariat, the theory of class struggle under socialism was put forward by Joseph Stalin in 1929 and supplied a theoretical base for the claim that ongoing repression of capitalist elements is necessary. Stalin believed that residual bourgeois elements would persist within the country and that with support from Western powers they would try to infiltrate the party. A variation of the theory was also adopted by Mao Zedong in China.

Liberal democracy

Liberal democracy is a liberal political ideology and a form of government in which representative democracy operates under the principles of classical liberalism. Also called Western democracy, it is characterised by elections between multiple distinct political parties, a separation of powers into different branches of government, the rule of law in everyday life as part of an open society, a market economy with private property and the equal protection of human rights, civil rights, civil liberties and political freedoms for all people. To define the system in practice, liberal democracies often draw upon a constitution, either formally written or uncodified, to delineate the powers of government and enshrine the social contract. After a period of sustained expansion throughout the 20th century, liberal democracy became the predominant political system in the world.

A liberal democracy may take various constitutional forms as it may be a constitutional monarchy (such as Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Japan, Netherlands, Norway, Spain and the United Kingdom) or a republic (such as France, India, Italy, Ireland and the United States). It may have a parliamentary system (such as Australia, Canada, India, Israel, Ireland, Italy and the United Kingdom), a presidential system (such as Indonesia and the United States) or a semi-presidential system (such as France and Romania).

Liberal democracies usually have universal suffrage, granting all adult citizens the right to vote regardless of ethnicity, sex, or property ownership. However, historically some countries regarded as liberal democracies have had a more limited franchise and some do not have secret ballots. There may also be qualifications such as voters being required to register before being allowed to vote. The decisions made through elections are made not by all of the citizens but rather by those who are eligible and who choose to participate by voting.

The liberal democratic constitution defines the democratic character of the state. The purpose of a constitution is often seen as a limit on the authority of the government. Liberal democracy emphasises the separation of powers, an independent judiciary and a system of checks and balances between branches of government. Liberal democracies are likely to emphasise the importance of the state being a Rechtsstaat, i.e. a state that follows the principle of rule of law. Governmental authority is legitimately exercised only in accordance with written, publicly disclosed laws adopted and enforced in accordance with established procedure. Many democracies use federalism—also known as vertical separation of powers—in order to prevent abuse and increase public input by dividing governing powers between municipal, provincial and national governments (e.g. Germany, where the federal government assumes the main legislative responsibilities and the federated Länder assume many executive tasks).

Marx's theory of the state

Karl Marx's ideas about the state can be divided into three subject areas: pre-capitalist states, states in the capitalist (i.e. present) era, and the state (or absence of one) in post-capitalist society. Overlaying this is the fact that his own ideas about the state changed as he grew older, differing in his early pre-communist phase, the "young Marx" phase which predates the unsuccessful 1848 uprisings in Europe, and in his mature, more nuanced work.

Marxian class theory

Marxian class theory asserts that an individual’s position within a class hierarchy is determined by their role in the production process, and argues that political and ideological consciousness is determined by class position. A class is those who share common economic interests, are conscious of those interests, and engage in collective action which advances those interests. Within Marxian class theory, the structure of the production process forms the basis of class construction.

To Marx, a class is a group with intrinsic tendencies and interests that differ from those of other groups within society, the basis of a fundamental antagonism between such groups. For example, it is in the laborer's best interest to maximize wages and benefits and in the capitalist's best interest to maximize profit at the expense of such, leading to a contradiction within the capitalist system, even if the laborers and capitalists themselves are unaware of the clash of interests.

Marxian class theory has been open to a range of alternate positions, most notably from scholars such as E. P. Thompson and Mario Tronti. Both Thompson and Tronti suggest class consciousness within the production process precedes the formation of productive relationships. In this sense, Marxian class theory often relates to discussion over pre-existing class struggles.

Marxism

Marxism is a theory and method of working-class self-emancipation. As a theory, it relies on a method of socioeconomic analysis that views class relations and social conflict using a materialist interpretation of historical development and takes a dialectical view of social transformation. It originates from the works of 19th-century German philosophers Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels.

Marxism uses a methodology, now known as historical materialism, to analyze and critique the development of class society and especially of capitalism as well as the role of class struggles in systemic economic, social, and political change. According to Marxist theory, in capitalist societies, class conflict arises due to contradictions between the material interests of the oppressed and exploited proletariat—a class of wage labourers employed to produce goods and services—and the bourgeoisie—the ruling class that owns the means of production and extracts its wealth through appropriation of the surplus product produced by the proletariat in the form of profit.

This class struggle that is commonly expressed as the revolt of a society's productive forces against its relations of production, results in a period of short-term crises as the bourgeoisie struggle to manage the intensifying alienation of labor experienced by the proletariat, albeit with varying degrees of class consciousness. In periods of deep crisis, the resistance of the oppressed can culminate in a proletarian revolution which, if victorious, leads to the establishment of socialism—a socioeconomic system based on social ownership of the means of production, distribution based on one's contribution and production organized directly for use. As the productive forces continued to advance, Marx hypothesized that socialism would ultimately be transformed into a communist society: a classless, stateless, humane society based on common ownership and the underlying principle: "From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs".

Marxism has developed into many different branches and schools of thought, with the result that there is now no single definitive Marxist theory. Different Marxian schools place a greater emphasis on certain aspects of classical Marxism while rejecting or modifying other aspects. Many schools of thought have sought to combine Marxian concepts and non-Marxian concepts, which has then led to contradicting conclusions. However, lately there is movement toward the recognition that historical materialism and dialectical materialism remains the fundamental aspect of all Marxist schools of thought. Marxism has had a profound impact on global academia and has influenced many fields such as archaeology, anthropology, media studies, political science, theater, history, sociology, art history and theory, cultural studies, education, economics, ethics, criminology, geography, literary criticism, aesthetics, film theory, critical psychology and philosophy.

Middle class

The middle class is a class of people in the middle of a social hierarchy. The very definition of the term "middle class" is highly political and vigorously contested by various schools of political and economic philosophy. Modern social theorists - and especially economists - have defined and re-defined the term "middle class" in order to serve their particular political ends. The definitions of the term "middle class" therefore are the result of the more- or less-scientific methods used when delineating the parameters of what is and isn't "middle class".

In Weberian socioeconomic terms, the middle class is the broad group of people in contemporary society who fall socio-economically between the working class and upper class. The common measures of what constitutes middle class vary significantly among cultures. One of the narrowest definitions limits it to those in the middle fifth of the nation's income ladder. A wider characterization includes everyone but the poorest 20% and the wealthiest 20%.In modern American vernacular usage, the term "middle class" is most often used as a self-description by those persons whom academics and Marxists would otherwise identify as the working class which are below both the upper class and the true middle class, but above those in poverty. This leads to considerable ambiguity over the meaning of the term "middle class" in American usage. Sociologists such as Dennis Gilbert and Joseph Kahl see this American self-described "middle class" (i.e. working class) as the most populous class in the United States.

Permanent revolution

Permanent revolution is a term within Marxist theory coined by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels by at least 1850, but which has since become most closely associated with Leon Trotsky. Furthermore, the uses of the term by different theorists are not identical. For instance, Marx used it to describe the strategy of a revolutionary class to continue to pursue its class interests independently and without compromise despite overtures for political alliances and the political dominance of opposing sections of society. Trotsky extrapolated this to his conception of permanent revolution as an explanation of how socialist revolutions could occur in societies that had not achieved advanced capitalism. Trotsky's theory also argues: (1) that the bourgeoisie in late-developing capitalist countries are incapable of developing the productive forces in such a manner as to achieve the sort of advanced capitalism which will fully develop an industrial proletariat; and (2) that the proletariat can and must therefore seize social, economic and political power, leading an alliance with the peasantry.

Petite bourgeoisie

Petite bourgeoisie (French pronunciation: ​[pətit buʁʒwazi], literally small bourgeoisie), also petty bourgeoisie, is a French term (sometimes derogatory) referring to a social class comprising semi-autonomous peasantry and small-scale merchants whose politico-economic ideological stance in times of socioeconomic stability is determined by reflecting that of a haute ("high") bourgeoisie, with which the petite bourgeoisie seeks to identify itself and whose bourgeois morality it strives to imitate.The term is politico-economic and references historical materialism. It originally denoted a sub-stratum of the middle classes in the 18th and early-19th centuries. In the mid-19th century, the German economist Karl Marx and other Marxist theorists used the term "petite bourgeoisie" to identify the socio-economic stratum of the bourgeoisie that comprised small-scale capitalists such as shop-keepers and workers who manage the production, distribution and/or exchange of commodities and/or services owned by their bourgeois employers.

Social class

A social class is a set of subjectively defined concepts in the social sciences and political theory centered on models of social stratification in which people are grouped into a set of hierarchical social categories, the most common being the upper, middle and lower classes.

"Class" is a subject of analysis for sociologists, political scientists, anthropologists and social historians. However, there is not a consensus on a definition of "class" and the term has a wide range of sometimes conflicting meanings. In common parlance, the term "social class" is usually synonymous with "socio-economic class", defined as "people having the same social, economic, cultural, political or educational status", e.g., "the working class"; "an emerging professional class". However, academics distinguish social class and socioeconomic status, with the former referring to one's relatively stable sociocultural background and the latter referring to one's current social and economic situation and consequently being more changeable over time.The precise measurements of what determines social class in society has varied over time. Karl Marx thought "class" was defined by one's relationship to the means of production (their relations of production). His simple understanding of classes in modern capitalist society are the proletariat, those who work but do not own the means of production; and the bourgeoisie, those who invest and live off the surplus generated by the proletariat's operation of the means of production. This contrasts with the view of the sociologist Max Weber, who argued "class" is determined by economic position, in contrast to "social status" or "Stand" which is determined by social prestige rather than simply just relations of production. The term "class" is etymologically derived from the Latin classis, which was used by census takers to categorize citizens by wealth in order to determine military service obligations.In the late 18th century, the term "class" began to replace classifications such as estates, rank and orders as the primary means of organizing society into hierarchical divisions. This corresponded to a general decrease in significance ascribed to hereditary characteristics and increase in the significance of wealth and income as indicators of position in the social hierarchy.

Social class in France

The modern social structure of France is complex, but generally similar to that of other European countries. Traditional social classes still have some presence, with a large bourgeoisie and especially petite bourgeoisie, and an unusually large proportion, for modern Europe, of farming smallholders. All these groups, and the remaining industrial working class, have considerable political power, which they are able to flex when required.

Bon chic bon genre is a term for fashionable people of good family ("bon genre"), especially in Paris. Graduates of the École nationale d'administration, or énarques predominate in the upper levels of government and many industries, along with graduates of the other Grandes écoles, specialized state-run institutes of tertiary education. However primary and secondary education is almost entirely at state schools, unlike say England, and a major engine of meritocracy. Cultural capital, a concept from France, is still considered an issue for the many French people in a process of social mobility.

The old french society was divided on the basis of 'etates' and they were as follows:

Clergy

Nobility

Common people

The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie

The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie (French: Le Charme discret de la bourgeoisie) is a 1972 surrealist film directed by Luis Buñuel and written by Jean-Claude Carrière in collaboration with the director. The film was made in France and is mainly in French, with some dialogue in Spanish.

The narrative concerns a group of upper middle class people attempting—despite continual interruptions—to dine together. The film received the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film and a nomination for Best Original Screenplay.

United front

A united front is an alliance of groups against their common enemies, figuratively evoking unification of previously separate geographic fronts and/or unification of previously separate armies into a front—the name often refers to a political and/or military struggle carried out by revolutionaries, especially in revolutionary socialism, communism or anarchism. The basic theory of the united front tactic among socialists was first developed by the Comintern, an international communist organization created by communists in the wake of the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution. According to the thesis of the 1922 4th World Congress of the Comintern: The united front tactic is simply an initiative whereby the Communists propose to join with all workers belonging to other parties and groups and all unaligned workers in a common struggle to defend the immediate, basic interests of the working class against the bourgeoisie.

The united front allowed workers committed to the revolutionary overthrow of capitalism to struggle alongside non-revolutionary workers. Through these common struggles, revolutionaries sought to win other workers to revolutionary socialism. The united front perspective is also used in contemporary and non-Leninist perspectives.

Épater la bourgeoisie

Épater la bourgeoisie or épater le (or les) bourgeois is a French phrase that became a rallying cry for the French Decadent poets of the late 19th century including Charles Baudelaire and Arthur Rimbaud. It means "to shock the bourgeoisie".The Decadents, fascinated as they were with hashish, opium, and absinthe, found, in Joris-Karl Huysmans' novel À rebours (1884), a sexually perverse hero who secludes himself in his house, basking in life-weariness or ennui, far from the bourgeois society that he despises.

The Aesthetes in England, such as Oscar Wilde, shared these same fascinations. This celebration of "unhealthy" and "unnatural" devotion to life, art and excess has been a continuing cultural theme.

Marxist phraseology and terminology
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