Bourgeoisie (/; French: [buʁʒwazi]) is a polysemous French term that can mean:

  • a sociologically defined class, especially in contemporary times, referring to people with a certain cultural and financial capital belonging to the middle or upper middle class: the upper (haute), middle (moyenne), and petty (petite) bourgeoisie (which are collectively designated "the bourgeoisie"); an affluent and often opulent stratum of the middle class who stand opposite the proletariat class.[1]
  • originally and generally, "those who live in the borough", that is to say, the people of the city (including merchants and craftsmen), as opposed to those of rural areas; in this sense, the bourgeoisie began to grow in Europe from the 11th century and particularly during the Renaissance of the 12th century (i.e., the onset of the High Middle Ages), with the first developments of rural exodus and urbanization.
  • a legally defined class of the Middle Ages to the end of the Ancien Régime (Old Regime) in France, that of inhabitants having the rights of citizenship and political rights in a city (comparable to the German term Bürgertum and Bürger; see also "Burgher").

The "bourgeoisie" in its original sense is intimately linked to the existence of cities recognized as such by their urban charters (e.g. municipal charter, town privileges, German town law), so there was no bourgeoisie "outside the walls of the city" beyond which the people were "peasants" submitted to the stately courts and manorialism (except for the traveling "fair bourgeoisie" living outside urban territories, who retained their city rights and domicile).

In Marxist philosophy, the bourgeoisie is the social class that came to own the means of production during modern industrialization and whose societal concerns are the value of property and the preservation of capital to ensure the perpetuation of their economic supremacy in society.[2]

Joseph Schumpeter saw the incorporation of new elements into an expanding bourgeoisie, particularly entrepreneurs who took risks to bring innovation to industries and the economy through the process of creative destruction, as the driving force behind the capitalist engine. [3]


The Modern French word bourgeois (French: [buʁʒwa]; English: ɑː/) derived from the Old French burgeis (walled city), which derived from bourg (market town), from the Old Frankish burg (town); in other European languages, the etymologic derivations include the Middle English burgeis, the Middle Dutch burgher, the German Bürger, the Modern English burgess, the Spanish burgués, the Portuguese burguês, and the Polish burżuazja, which occasionally is synonymous with the "intelligentsia".[4] In its literal sense, bourgeois in Old French (burgeis, borjois) means "town dweller".

In English, the word "bourgeoisie" (a French citizen-class) identified[when?] a social class oriented to economic materialism and hedonism, and to upholding the extreme political and economic interests of the capitalist ruling-class.[5] In the 18th century, before the French Revolution (1789–99), in the French feudal order, the masculine and feminine terms bourgeois and bourgeoise identified the rich men and women who were members of the urban and rural Third Estate – the common people of the French realm, who violently deposed the absolute monarchy of the Bourbon King Louis XVI (r. 1774–91), his clergy, and his aristocrats in the French Revolution of 1789-1799. Hence, since the 19th century, the term "bourgeoisie" usually is politically and sociologically synonymous with the ruling upper-class of a capitalist society.[6]

Historically, the medieval French word bourgeois denoted the inhabitants of the bourgs (walled market-towns), the craftsmen, artisans, merchants, and others, who constituted "the bourgeoisie", they were the socio-economic class between the peasants and the landlords, between the workers and the owners of the means of production. As the economic managers of the (raw) materials, the goods, and the services, and thus the capital (money) produced by the feudal economy, the term "bourgeoisie" evolved to also denote the middle class – the businessmen and businesswomen who accumulated, administered, and controlled the capital that made possible the development of the bourgs into cities.[7][need quotation to verify]

Contemporarily, the terms "bourgeoisie" and "bourgeois" (noun) identify the ruling class in capitalist societies, as a social stratum; while "bourgeois" (adjective / noun modifier) describes the Weltanschauung (worldview) of men and women whose way of thinking is socially and culturally determined by their economic materialism and philistinism, a social identity famously mocked in Molière's comedy Le Bourgeois gentilhomme (1670), which satirises buying the trappings of a noble-birth identity as the means of climbing the social ladder.[8][9] The 18th century saw a partial rehabilitation of bourgeois values in genres such as the drame bourgeois (bourgeois drama) and "bourgeois tragedy".

Other Languages
Afrikaans: Bourgeoisie
العربية: برجوازية
aragonés: Burguesía
asturianu: Burguesía
azərbaycanca: Burjuaziya
Bân-lâm-gú: Chu-sán-kai-kip
башҡортса: Буржуазия
беларуская: Буржуазія
български: Буржоазия
bosanski: Buržoazija
brezhoneg: Bourc'hizelezh
català: Burgesia
čeština: Měšťanstvo
dansk: Borgerskab
Deutsch: Bourgeoisie
eesti: Kodanlus
Ελληνικά: Μπουρζουαζία
español: Burguesía
Esperanto: Burĝo
euskara: Burgesia
فارسی: بورژوازی
français: Bourgeoisie
galego: Burguesía
한국어: 부르주아지
հայերեն: Բուրժուազիա
हिन्दी: बूर्जुआ
hrvatski: Buržoazija
Bahasa Indonesia: Borjuis
italiano: Borghesia
עברית: בורגנות
қазақша: Буржуазия
latviešu: Buržuāzija
Lëtzebuergesch: Biergertum
lietuvių: Buržuazija
magyar: Burzsoázia
മലയാളം: ബൂർഷ്വാസി
Bahasa Melayu: Borjuis
Nederlands: Burgerij
नेपाली: बुर्जुवा
Nordfriisk: Bourgeoisie
norsk: Borgerskap
norsk nynorsk: Borgarskap
occitan: Borgesiá
oʻzbekcha/ўзбекча: Burjuaziya
پنجابی: بورژوازی
polski: Burżuazja
português: Burguesia
română: Burghezie
русиньскый: Буржоазия
русский: Буржуазия
Simple English: Bourgeoisie
slovenčina: Buržoázia
slovenščina: Buržoazija
српски / srpski: Буржоазија
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Buržoazija
suomi: Porvaristo
svenska: Bourgeoisie
Tagalog: Burgesya
Türkçe: Burjuvazi
тыва дыл: Буржуазия
українська: Буржуазія
vèneto: Borghexia
Tiếng Việt: Giai cấp tư sản
文言: 資產階級
吴语: 資產階級
粵語: 資產階級
Zazaki: Burjuvazi
中文: 資產階級