industrial society


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industrial society

  1. that form of society or any particular society, in which INDUSTRIALIZATION and MODERNIZATION have occurred.

    The general term originates from SAINT-SIMON who chose it to reflect the emerging central role of manufacturing industry in 18th-century Europe, in contrast with previous PREINDUSTRIAL SOCIETY and AGRARIAN SOCIETY.

    As the basic form of modern society, the term ‘industrial society’ covers both CAPITALIST SOCIETIES, since both exhibit the following common features: factory-based production, a declining proportion of the population employed in agriculture, the separation of the household from production, increases in the level of production and improvements in productivity, urbanization, improvements in consumption and social welfare, the provision of mass education and the achievement of widespread literacy Among other more disputed general features of industrial societies usually included are the tendency for extended family and kinship relationships to decline as the basis of social organization (see FAMILY, KINSHIP), and for religion to be undermined by SECULARIZATION. 2 a disputed model of modern society proposed as an alternative model to either capitalist society’ or ‘socialist society’. In this, more restricted sense of the term, a number of more specific propositions are advanced about modern society:

    1. that industrialization rather than capitalism or socialism is the decisive factor shaping modern society;
    2. that, rather than CLASS CONFLICTS of the dichotomous Marxian kind, CLASS and STATUS divisions occur which simply reflect divisions within the occupational structure of all industrial societies. Whilst these divisions result in a plurality of class and status conflicts (including SECTORAL CLEAVAGES), they occur in a manner which does not routinely undermine the basic effectiveness or continuity of these societies (see also CLASS STRATIFICATION, DAHRENDORF). (c) that there are clear signs of an ultimate CONVERGENCE between capitalist and socialist societies (including domination by a TECHNOSTRUCTURE of managers and technical experts – see also MANAGERIAL REVOLUTION) so that these societies will in the end emerge as neither classically capitalist nor conventionally socialist in social and economic form. See also STATE SOCIALISM, STATE CAPITALISM AND STATE MONOPOLY CAPITALISM, POSTCAPITALIST SOCIETY, POSTINDUSTRIAL SOCIETY.

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