petty bourgeoisie


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Related to petty bourgeoisie: lumpenproletariat, petite bourgeoisie

petty bourgeoisie

or

petite bourgeoisie

the class of small capitalist business owners. Some theorists also include self-employed artisans, middle and small peasantry and other smallholding farmers. The term has its origins in MARX's work. He distinguished between the social and economic situation of big and small businesses and argued that the logic of competition and successive economic crises in CAPITALISM is to encourage the growth of monopolistic big business (and CLASS POLARIZATION and PROLETARIANIZATION of the petty bourgeoisie). In practice, despite the insecurity and instability of small business ownership (only about 20% survive for more than five years, see Fidler, 1981), the rate of establishment of new small or independent concerns remains very high and may have been encouraged by high unemployment and recession. Empirical studies of the petty bourgeoisie suggest that their social and political attitudes can be characterized as individualistic and independent-minded, mistrustful of large organizations, generally conservative and antisocialist (Bechhofer et al., 1974). The support of members of the petty bourgeoisie is usually considered significant in the rise of European FASCISM in the 1920s and 30s in Germany (see Franz Neumann, 1942). More generally, they are found disproportionately among the supporters of right-wing and extreme right-wing political movements. e.g. McCarthyism in the US (see BELL, 1964).

A recent theoretical redevelopment of the concept occurs in Poulantzas (1973). He has proposed that the non-manual MIDDLE CLASSES can be best conceptualized as a NEW PETTY BOURGEOISIE on the grounds that they are not members of the bourgeoisie, since they do not own the means of production, but nor can they (contrary to the PROLETARIANIZATION thesis) be members of the working class. Their role as assistants of capital and their ideological identification with capitalist interests makes it more appropriate to see them as identified with the ‘old’ petty bourgeoisie. In many ways, however, this theory is better seen in the context of the debate about the NEW MIDDLE CLASS than the traditional conception of the petty bourgeoisie (see CONTRADICTORY CLASS LOCATIONS).

References in periodicals archive ?
As a result, millions of youth, including many of the children of the petty bourgeoisie, "become subject to an extraordinary variety of social problems that accompany the statuses of dependent able-bodied persons in our society." (36)
They are the symbols that the urban petty bourgeoisie identify with both culturally and emotionally.
Many of the urban petty bourgeoisie were second-generation Christians, whose parents converted during the late-nineteenth century.
He has to tolerate the friendly superiority of Swedish petty bourgeoisie toward the youths from the ex-Soviet republic.
Indeed one of the major criticisms of much ethnic minority business discourse is that it takes place in a parallel universe, sealed off from the wider literature on small business, including a highly distinguished sociology of the petty bourgeoisie dating from Wright Mills in the 1950s, which is consistently ignored by most exponents of the ethnic minority enterprise genre.
Meanwhile, the workers, peasants and petty bourgeoisie of the world pay the price.
The vegetable farm owner-operators are the petty bourgeoisie, the hired hands are the proletariat and so on.
is really a multiplicity of religions that are distinct and often contradictory: there is a Catholicism of the peasant, a Catholicism of the petty bourgeoisie and urban workers, a Catholicism of women and a Catholicism of the intellectuals" (12).
class structure between 1960 and 1990, and discusses the composition and relative status of the petty bourgeoisie in the U.S.
These exclusions and her folding of Jewish gangsters, the Jewish petty bourgeoisie, and aspiring capitalist assimilationists into a collective socialist identity were all unnecessary for her argument about the primacy of radical politics and a communal ethic of care and reciprocity among Eastern European Jews at the turn of the century.
The policy to control and fix prices affected the petty bourgeoisie, i.e.
He explains why the urban middle class predominated, but he also points to the entrance of the petty bourgeoisie and even the working class into the intelligentsia, particularly after 1890.