Bourgeoisie  means a social class of people who own the means of production, making them in the upper or merchant class. Hence, all employers are bourgeoisie. Their status or power comes from employment, education, assets, or wealth and not from aristocratic (political) origin, as a lowly café or factory owner is bourgeoisie. The term is widely used in many non-English speaking countries as an approximate equivalent of middle class.
As the bourgeoisie are not its opposing counterpart proletariat, they don't have to be a labourer doing menial work for money. And if they do any work that gets them money, then it's only because of the many proletariat people beneath them, who generated their wealth through their labour, of which the higher up bourgeoisie person took a cut (commission). 
Bourgeoisie is a French word that was borrowed directly into English in the sense that is explained above. The French word bourgeois comes from the Old French word burgeis, meaning "an inhabitant of a town" (cf. Middle English burgeis, Middle Dutch burgher and German Bürger). The Old French word burgeis comes from bourg, meaning a market town or medieval village, itself derived from Late Latin burgus, meaning "fortress".
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Notes[change | edit source]
- RP /ˌbɔː.ʒwɑːˈzi/, GA /ˌbu(r).ʒwɑˈzi/
- Mostly the word has negative connotations. One thinks of undeserved wealth, or lifestyles, tastes, and opinions that are not accepted by the speaker. Therefore it is rare for people in the English speaking world to identify themselves as members of the bourgeoisie, although many self-identify as middle class.
- American Heritage Dictionary etymology
References[change | edit source]
- Hal Draper, Karl Marx's Theory of Revolution, Vol. 2: The Politics of Social Classes. New York: Monthly Review Press, 1979.
- Ralph Miliband, Class and class power in contemporary capitalism, in: Stanislaw Kozyr-Kowalski and Jacek Tittenbrun, On Social Differentiation. A Contribution to the Critique of Marxist Ideology, Part 2. Poznan: Adam Mickiewicz University Press, 1992, pp. 7–62.
- Ernest Mandel, Social differentiation in capitalist and postcapitalist societies, in: Stanislaw Kozyr-Kowalski and Jacek Tittenbrun, On Social Differentiation. A Contribution to the Critique of Marxist Ideology, Part 2. Poznan: Adam Mickiewicz University Press, 1992, pp. 63–91.
- Erik Olin Wright et al., The Debate on Classes. London: Verso, 1989.
- Anthony Giddens, The Class Structure of the Advanced societies, 1981.
Other websites[change | edit source]
- The Democratic State – A Critique of Bourgeois Sovereignty