Petite bourgeoisie  

From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia

(Redirected from Petty bourgeoisie)
Jump to: navigation, search

“For the petit-bourgeois consumer of culture in the twentieth century, the available form of popular art has been black American music, and that is where my notion of collective vehemence was picked up—from kinds of blues singing and shouting, from improvised ensemble playing, from Charlie Parker’s way with the themes and harmonies of white popular music, from Little Richard and Fats Domino. But this kind of list is more than usually misleading here: the effect we are talking about does not for the most part lead to ‘masterpieces,’ and can be found almost anywhere, often surrounded by pure shlock.”.--The Painting of Modern Life (1985) by T. J. Clark

Related e



Petit-bourgeois (or petty bourgeois through folk etymology) is a French term that originally referred to the members of the upper middle social-classes in the 18th and early 19th centuries. They were seen as servants of the ruling bourgeois class who in turn were seen as servants of the aristocracy. In the context of a perceived oppressive system, the bourgeoisie denoted a label of someone in collaboration with the ruling aristocracy's lieutenants.

Starting from the mid-19th century, the term was used by Karl Marx and Marxist theorists to refer to a social class that included shop-keepers and professionals. Though distinct from the ordinary working class and the lumpenproletariat, who rely entirely on the sale of their labor-power for survival, the petty remain members of the proletariat rather than the haute bourgeoisie, or capitalist class, who own the means of production and buy the labor-power of others to work it. Though the petty bourgeois do buy the labor power of others, in contrast to the bourgeoisie they typically work alongside their own employees; and although they generally own their own businesses, they do not own a controlling share of the means of production. The modern term for the petty bourgeoisie, a class that lies between the workingmen and the capitalists, would be the middle class.

Petit bourgeois mentality

In some modern usage "petite bourgeoisie", a class that lies between the workingmen and the capitalists, is used, usually derisively, to refer to the consumption habits and tastes of the middle class and the lower middle class in particular. This is related to the meaning attributed to the expression "bourgeois mentality", used to define the cultural worldview associated with Victorianism, in particular the repression of emotional and sexual desires, and the construction of an intensely regulated social space where the key desirable personal trait is propriety.

However, Marxist terminology relates the petite bourgeoisie exclusively to its relationship to the means of production and work rather than to tastes, habits of consumption, or lifestyle (because of the Marxist definition of class).

See also

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Petite bourgeoisie" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

Personal tools