Historically and politically, the petit-bourgeois is the key to the century. The bourgeois and proletariat classes have become abstractions: the petite-bourgeoisie, in contrast, is everywhere, you can see it everywhere, even in the areas of the bourgeois and the proletariat, what's left of them.
More than one branch of the avant-garde, claiming to break with the bourgeois vision and mode of production, remains tied to it in spite of its denials and ex-communications. We are far from having overcome bourgeois thought or practices, despite the socialist "intermission" between the Russian revolution and the collapse of the Berlin wall. The avant-garde has lost its radical nature. On the other hand, "bourgeois theatre" is sometimes subtle enough to flirt with the avant-garde or to make "intelligent boulevard theatre.
Continental thinkers have been obsessed with bourgeois man as representing the worst and most contemptible failure of modernity, which must at all costs be overcome. Nihilism in its most palpable sense means that the bourgeois has won, that the future, all foreseeable futures, belong to him, that all heights above him and all depths beneath him are illusory and that life is not worth living on these terms.
People think that the art market is about opportunists and hedge-fund managers getting broken art, but what really happened is that there was a new configuration of bourgeois values in the U.S. and an acceptance among the bourgeoisie of contemporary art as an idea. I think that bourgeois people are horrible.
Americans ... do not naturally apply the term "bourgeois" to themselves, or to anyone else for that matter. They do like to call themselves middle class, but that does not carry with it any determinate spiritual content. ... The term "middle class" does not have any of the many opposites that bourgeois has, such as aristocrat, saint, hero, or artist all good.
As persons, so Mournier maintained, we possess both a spiritual and temporal dimension; we exist in history, in relationship with others, but open to transcendence and ultimately to God. This concept of the person, he believed, was denied as much by an atheistic totalitarianism of the Left as by the bourgeois materialism of capitalist society. To the extent that Christianity had become infected by the bourgeois spirit, it had become a prop in what he called, 'the established disorder.
That is the real pivot of all bourgeois consciousness in all countries: fear and hate of the instinctive, intuitional, procreativebody in man or woman. But of course this fear and hate had to take on a righteous appearance, so it became moral, said that the instincts, intuitions and all the activities of the procreative body were evil, and promised a reward for their suppression. That is the great clue to bourgeois psychology: the reward business.
D. H. Lawrence
The bourgeois sees in his wife a mere instrument of production. He hears that the instruments of production are to be exploited in common, and, naturally, can come to no other conclusion than that the lot of being common to all will likewise fall to the women. He has not even a suspicion that the real point is to do away with the status of women as mere instruments of production. For the rest, nothing is more ridiculous than the virtuous indignation of our bourgeois at the community of women which, they pretend, is to be openly and officially established by the Communists. The Communists have no need to introduce the community of women; it has existed almost from time immemorial. Our bourgeois, not content with having the wives and daughters of their proletarians at their disposal, not to speak of common prostitutes, take the greatest pleasure in seducing each other's wives. Bourgeois marriage is in reality a system of wives in common and thus, at the most, what the Communists might possibly be reproached with, is that they desire to introduce, in substitution for a hypocritically concealed, an openly legalised community of women. For the rest, it is self-evident that the abolition of the present system of production must bring with it the abolition of the community of women springing from that system, i.e., of prostitution both public and private.
Absolute Evil is not the kingdom of hell. The inhabitants of hell are ourselves, i.e., those who pay our painful, embarrassing, humanistic duties to society and who are compromised by our intellectually dubious commitment to virtue, which can be defined by the perpetual smear-word of French polemic: the bourgeois. (Bourgeois equals humanist.) This word has long been anathema in France where categories are part of the ruling notion of logique. The word cannot be readily matched in England or America.
V. S. Pritchett
The Marxist critique is only a critique of capital, a critique coming from the heart of the middle and petit bourgeois classes, for which Marxism has served for a century as a latent ideology.... The Marxist seeks a good use of economy. Marxism is therefore only a limited petit bourgeois critique, one more step in the banalization of life toward the "good use" of the social!
The German experience brings us face to face with the major problem of the revolution in Western Europe. In these countries, the old bourgeois mode of production and the centuries-old civilisation which has developed with it have completely impressed themselves upon the thoughts and feelings of the popular masses. Hence, the mentality and inner character of the masses here is quite different from that in the countries of the East, who have not experienced the rule of bourgeois culture; and this is what distinguishes the different courses that the revolution has taken in the East and the West.
Ainsi dans le faste ostenstatoire d'une dernie¨re ceremonie, le bourgeois, laissant e ses fils un heritage plus riche que celui qu'il a ree§u de son pe¨re, quite ce monde oe¹ il a conu au moins deux grands sources de joie, la fortune et la vanite... Thus in the ostentatious pomp of a last ceremony, the bourgeois, leaving his sons a richer heritage than he has received from his own father, departs from this world where he has known at least two great sources of joy, the fortune and the vanity...
Friedrich Engels once said: "Bourgeois society stands at the crossroads, either transition to socialism or regression into barbarism." What does "regression into barbarism" mean to our lofty European civilization? Until now, we have all probably read and repeated these words thoughtlessly, without suspecting their fearsome seriousness. A look around us at this moment shows what the regression of bourgeois society into barbarism means. This world war is a regression into barbarism. The triumph of imperialism leads to the annihilation of civilization.
The bourgeoisie, by the rapid improvement of all instruments of production, by the immensely facilitated means of communication, draws all, even the most barbarian, nations into civilization. The cheap prices of its commodities are the heavy artillery with which it batters down all Chinese walls, with which it forces the barbarians' intensely obstinate hatred of foreigners to capitulate. It compels all nations, on pain of extinction, to adopt the bourgeois mode of production; it compels them to introduce what it calls civilization into their midst, i.e., to become bourgeois themselves. In one word, it creates a world after its own image.
Failure to recognize the historical specificity of the bourgeois conception of rights and duties leads to serious errors. It is for this reason that Marx registers... a vigorous indictment of the anarchist Proudhon... Proudhon in effect took the specifics of bourgeois legal and economic relations and treated them as universal and foundational for the development of an alternative, socially just economic system. From Marx's standpoint, this is no alternative at all since it merely re-inscribes bourgeois conceptions of value in a supposedly new form of society. This problem is still with us, not only because of the contemporary anarchist revival of interest in Proudhon's ideas but also because of the rise of a more broad-based liberal human rights politics as a supposed antidote to the social and political ills of contemporary capitalism. Marx's critique of Proudhon is directly applicable to this contemporary politics. The UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948 is a foundational document for a bourgeois, market-based individualism and as such cannot provide a basis for a thoroughgoing critique of liberal or neoliberal capitalism. Whether it is politically useful to insist that the capitalist political order live up to its own foundational principles is one thing, but to imagine that this politics can lead to a radical displacement of a capitalist mode of production is, in Marx's view, a serious error.
Oui, c'est votre idee, e vous tous, les ouvriers frane§ais, deterrer un tresor, pour le manger seul ensuite, dans un coin d'egoisme et de faineantise. Vous avez beau crier contre les riches, le courage vous manque de rendre aux pauvres l'argent que la fortune vous envoie... Jamais vous ne serez dignes du bonheur, tant que vous aurez quelque chose e vous, et que votre haine des bourgeois viendra uniquement de votre besoin enrage d'eªtre des bourgeois e leur place.
Naphta loathed the bourgeois state and its love of security. He found occasion to express this loathing one autumn afternoon when, as they were walking along the main street, it suddenly began to rain and, as if on command, there was an umbrella over every head. That was a symbol of cowardice and vulgar effeminacy, the end product of civilization. An incident like the sinking of the Titanic was atavistic, true, but its effect was most refreshing, it was the handwriting on the wall. Afterward, of course, came the hue and cry for more security in shipping. How pitiful, but such weak-willed humanitarianism squared very nicely with the wolfish cruelty and villainy of slaughter on the economic battlefield known as the bourgeois state. War, war ! He was all for it - the universal lust or war seemed quite honorable in comparison.
Women's actions have never been more than symbolic agitation; they have won only what men have been willing to concede to them; they have taken nothing; they have received.5 It is that they lack the concrete means to organize themselves into a unit that could posit itself in opposition. They have no past, no history, no religion of their own; and unlike the proletariat, they have no solidarity of labor or interests; they even lack their own space that makes communities of American blacks, the Jews in ghettos, or the workers in Saint-Denis or Renault factories. They live dispersed among men, tied by homes, work, economic interests, and social conditions to certain men-fathers or husbands-more closely than to other women. As bourgeois women, they are in solidarity with bourgeois men and not with women proletarians; as white women, they are in solidarity with white men and not with black women.
Simone de Beauvoir