Bourgeoisie: Meaning, History, and Facts

Bourgeoisie: It is a socially defined class, which refers to the people with a certain financial capital who belong to the middle class.

Originally, with the first developments of urbanization, the people of the city i.e. the merchants and craftsmen opposed to the ones of the rural areas. And this created space for the rise of the bourgeoisie in Europe around the 12th century. There was no existence of bourgeoisie outside the walls of the city i.e. in the rural areas, as in the original sense of bourgeoisie is to link the existence of cities recognized by their urban charters which included municipal charter, town privileges, and the German town law.

The word ‘bourgeoisie’ is used typically with the reference to feelings of materialism in the description with the middle class. From the twentieth century, the historians used the term bourgeoisie in order to denote the people who work as merchants, non-nobles, pensioners, officials, and financiers. Later, the term bourgeoisie began to represent them those who own the means of production. They literally earn profits by deriving the work from the workers. The workers sold their ability to work and their hard work for the sake of their wages. Meanwhile, they were the working class who run industries and factories.

Generally, the meaning of bourgeoisie had to be different, as workers referred their higher officials or employers as “bourgeois” and the same term was used to represent the urban landlords by the peasants.

The social group that emerged with trade and towns was the ‘capitalist class.’ The word bourgeoisie was defined as a capitalist class in terms of economics. As the main focus of the capitalist class was market-centered and capital, this simply implied making money. And by this, it became the rivalry to the aristocracy in many European countries.

There were a few “bourgeois” individuals who were not into trade and manufacture. They were the doctors, lawyers, and officials who were said to be the part of the bourgeoisie.

The bourgeoisie was also associated with the family relations and culture. The bourgeois identity was created based on the public service, material comfort, work ethic and religious values, other than talent, virtue, and belief in the property. With the focus on values, attitude and rules of conduct, it had become the social and cultural explanation of the bourgeoisie. Despite having the knowledge, hard work and self-confidence in the identity of bourgeoisie, honest and anxiety also permeated the self-image of the early modern bourgeoisie.

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