Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Bourgeois

Noun: bourgeois
1. A capitalist who engages in industrial commercial enterprise
2. A member of the middle class

Adjective: bourgeois
1. (according to Marxist thought) being of the property-owning class and exploitive of the working class
2. Conforming to the standards and conventions of the middle class
3. Belonging to the middle class

Synonyms: burgher, businessperson, conservative, materialistic
Wikipedia has:
a classification used in analyzing human societies to describe a social class of people who are in the upper or merchant class, whose status or power comes from employment, education, and wealth as opposed to aristocratic origin.
...
In common usage the term has pejorative connotations suggesting either undeserved wealth, or lifestyles, tastes, and opinions that lack the sophistication of the rich or the authenticity of the intellectual or the poor. 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.
Well, my ancestors, at least those I know about, definitely were not aristocratic. By and large they definitely gained what status and power they possessed (ant that was not much) nearly all from employment.

A few of us have benefited from education but it hasn't done much to help my status or my power. I have none of either as nearly as I can tell. I can't even influence people who like me.

We are pretty much middle class culturally and politically, too. We've owned property since about the 1760's as nearly as I can tell. Dad did really well buying his property.

I think we have not been exploitive of the working class although we have hired a few people. Mostly they've said nice things about me but there have been a few who not only said some bad stuff but offered to help me find heaven early.

There are plenty of people that believe I have undeserved wealth. They confuse land and debt with cash apparently because they ask for cash.

No one has ever accused me of being sophisticated that I can remember. To be fair I used to enjoy wine that came in bottles with screw on lids.

I haven't been accused of being an intellectual either. I have been called both geek and nerd although not for a while because apparently you can't be either of those at age 60.

I once was told I did not sufficiently love money. I think that's still probably true but I'm trying to learn to like it more. Love may be a stretch. Someone else once told me I gave too much money away. I think that's still true as well but I'm trying to do better.

Someone indirectly called me bourgeois the other day. They meant it pejoratively. I took it that way, too. But after actually looking it up and reading about the subject it doesn't actually seem all that bad to me.

I definitely have been called worse.

I am starting a new category of posts that I'm labeling "interesting words."

3 comments:

Lori1955 said...

Very interesting. The term that boggles my mind most is "undeserved wealth". Who decides what is undeserved? During election time it often seems that the general public thinks all wealth is undeserved. We never hear much about undeserved poverty.

I don't think I would like being called bourgeios. It just sounds so negative. I like the word "snob" better. :)

Susan M said...

Oh Flinty Sooner. Happy belated birthday. Hope it was wonderful.

Bourgeois is not how I would describe any of us. My ancestors came from England to settle this country and to escape religious suppression. Methodists, Baptists and Quakers. Did they work hard? You betcha. Did they reap what they sowed? And how. How much is too much? I don't know.

All I know is that this country is a melting pot. And for so many reasons we are so privileged to be able to speak our minds, vote with our hearts and try to instill in others what we cherish.

No perjoratives here. As my husband and I approach the big 60 this year we are learning to listen to our hearts and our faith and not so much to others.

I love your posts. Keep them coming.

steflovesnonna said...

So I have a lot of Black friends, and they taught me another version of the word Bourgeois. It is "Boushey" and it means things that are classey. http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=boughie


haha