• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

"Critically examine the concept of embourgeisement and assess the extent to which this has take place in modern Britain."

Extracts from this document...


"Critically examine the concept of embourgeisement and assess the extent to which this has take place in modern Britain." Contemporary discussion of social class still tends to be couched within the theoretical frameworks laid down by Karl Marx and Max Weber in the last nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The world has, however, changed in significant ways since the days when they were writing. Perhaps most importantly, in the early twentieth century manual workers (in manufacturing and agriculture) formed the overwhelming majority of the working population, and it was therefore the character of the working class which held the attention of sociologists. One of the most significant changes in the class structure in the past half-century has been the decline in the size of the working class and the growth of the middle class. During the 1950s and 1960s a number of sociologists claimed that a process of embourgeoisement was occurring. It suggested that the affluent member of the working class become more like members of middle class in their lifestyle and attitudes. According to the Haralambos and Holborn (2004)p.32,'the most usual way of defining the middle class is to see it as consisting of those individual who have non-manual occupations, that is occupations which involve, in some sense, an intellectual element'. ...read more.


After 1980s, many household had two cars. Jacqueline Klein and Ferdinand Zweig argued that the working classes adopt the lifestyle and the consumption patterns of the middle class and the material affluence possibly with change in political attitudes. The 'embourgeoisement' hypothesis seemed particularly persuasive in the aftermath of the decisive of Labour in the 1959 general election. Conservative Party in 1950s won three elections with increased majority each time. As with the 1979 election, twenty years later, there was a swing against Labour among the working class. "D E Butler and R Rose suggested that Labour might be experiencing particular trouble in hold the affluent working class vote". (O'Dnnell M 1977, p172) they found the number of traditional working class was declined and they should try to widen the basis of political support to include as many middle class people as possible. Despite the strong support for embourgroisement, the evidence on which it was largely impressionistic. John Goldthorpe, David Lockwood and their collaborators put the embourgroisement hypothesis to test in 1960s. They chose luton, then a prosperous area in southeast England with expanding industries. They looked at affluent workers in the car manufacturing industry and found there were still differences between the manual workers and the middle class, which suggested that embourgroisement had not taken place. ...read more.


But the evidence, in fact, shows that the "middle class" is an ideological illusion. In a feature for the Times Press, Karen A. Davis writes that high-tech consultants and managers, who used to earn more than �100,000 a year, discovered after suddenly losing their jobs that their middle-class lifestyle has completely disappeared. I totally agree with Lockwood and Fiona Devine' view that embourgeoisement had not taken place. According to Marxist perspectives of social stratification, there are two major social groups: a ruling class and a subject class. The power of the ruling class comes from its ownership and control of the means of production. The ruling class exploits and oppresses the subject class. The middle class, although they have high wages, they are wage maker. I think that the middle class are still working class, because they do not own the mean of production and I said in last paragraph which the "middle class" is an ideological illusion. The theories of "embourgeoisement"are aimed at concealing the actual proletarianization of the so-called "middle class". The influent workers and "middle class" are becoming heterogeneous, although they have largely different. The process of "embourgeoisement" or proletarianization will make working class more powerful and solidarity. In conclusion, the "embourgeoisement" is taking place rather than taken place. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our University Degree 1800-1899 section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related University Degree 1800-1899 essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    Why did British agriculture decline after 1870?

    4 star(s)

    The diminishing importance of agriculture in Britain's economy is a feature of how advanced it was. It was able to focus its workforce on the production of expensive industrial goods, something which no other nation had yet achieved. The fact that a nation could be fed almost exclusively by imports

  2. What was the significance of higher education for women

    Elizabeth Garrett Anderson (whose daughter Louisa would go on to write about attitudes towards the education of girls) wrote a reply in which her presumed natural anger and frustration were mindfully tamed. She argued that far from the mental stress caused by studying in higher education, the real health issue

  1. Comparing economic change in Britain and China from 1760 to 1914

    the premise of growth of productivity, because if labours enter the secondary forms of production, the sum of productivity of the decreasing number of labours in agriculture will not be able to meet the food demand for overall population. Accordingly, in order to achieve this shift, the British state made many efforts in promoting the productivity.

  2. An In-depth comparison of two major Confederate Commanders: Robert. E. Lee and Braxton Bragg, ...

    Before he had arrived on the battlefield on the 18th September, none of his men had carried out the duties he had ordered. He was left livid. Some of Bragg's subordinate generals were frustrated at what they perceived to be his lack of willingness to exploit the victory by pursuing the Union army toward Chattanooga and destroying it.

  1. The turno pacfico system, although fraudulent and corrupt, was the best means to ensure ...

    The party leaders in Madrid would appoint local governors or mayors in small towns and villages, granting them enormous powers, guaranteeing that the 'political clientilism' - Caciquismo - would be as efficient and as far reaching as possible, once the electorate had become too large to simply fabricate election results.

  2. To what extent did Sir Robert Peel reshape the modern British state, 1841-46?

    Gash and Blake argue these two budgets helped to push Britain toward becoming a free trade country.[18],[19] It can be argued that Peels reforms acted upon the laissez faire which was then later practised by the liberal party in the 1850?s and 1860s.[20] Furthermore the controversial repeal of the corn laws was first proposed during the 1842 budget.

  1. It didnt happen here. Why didnt socialism prosper in the USA in the period ...

    , president of the Philadelphia and Reading Railroad [67], and "the wealthiest anthracite coal mine owner in the world?. Gowen believed that a secretive group of Irish immigrant miners, called the ?Molly Maguires? had infiltrated his company and were involved in criminal activity against their employers [68].

  2. Why did Britain industrialise earlier than Germany?

    Instead of competing with other nations economically, German states competed internally. These political differences are paramount to the question as to why Britain industrialised before Germany. Britain had the capital and time to experiment with new technology. Germany had fundamental problems that required resolving prior to bonus achievements like industrial growth.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work