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Sociology 2240E Lecture Notes - Bourgeoisie, Age Of Enlightenment, Philosophes

Course Code
SOC 2240E
Charles Levine

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Wednesday October 10, 2012
Lecture 4
- Political, industrial revolutions coincide with when social theory begins
- In Europe people had lived the same way for years and sudden social change occurred
- In England we don’t really see the development of sociology, it was about the individual- the
rights of the individual
- In France, there is an emphasis on the individual and on the community and the tension
between the two is what starts sociology
- Sociology is a struggle between the individual and the group
- The sociology of knowledge- how one thinks and what one thinks about
- 1750 France- Triangle- economy based on agriculture, feudalism (culture, politics, agriculture)
- Top of triangle- King, Queen, children
- Next strata- clergy (around 100000)- bishops, priests (no taxes, no fiscal obligations- they were
in total control of the cultural system of France- controlled through religion and the Catholic
Church). They were used to legitimize the monarchy.
- Next group- Nobility (around 400 000)- Lords
- These three groups exists in terms of a strict code that is tied to religion which makes feudal
society work smoothly
- Next group- third estate or the bourgeoisie (About 1 million)- they come from the tradition of
the free man, also come from immigration. They are merchants, money lenders, small
industries, bring in spices, trade- the “other economy” in France. They live off the defined needs
of the powerful.
- Population of France at the time was 23 million
- Peasants are the last group (about 20.5 million)- they were protected by their lords, and in
return produced for them.
- The problem with France at this time was the bourgeoisie- they are in touch with England, with
industrialization, they see a future and want to get ahead. However, they are restrained by the
feudal system.
- In order for this to happen they need workers.
- They are crippled because on a social level there are no workers, there are only peasants.
- The biggest problem they face is feudalism. It is getting in the way of the Capitalist society they
want to exist. They have to get rid of the social class of peasants
- A group of people were starting to talk about equality, individualism, rights and freedom. They
started to introduce this vocabulary.
- The philosophes were talking about this, they began the Enlightenment
- These ideas gave peasants new ideas- like the right to sell my labour for a wage
- The Enlightenment was important to the bourgeoisie because it introduced vocabulary that was
compatible with Business ideas
- 1789- 1805- French Revolution-
- Chaos for 15 years
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