Politische Kleinbürgerlichkeit: Ein empirischer Beitrag zur Analyse politischen Bewußtseins in der Bundesrepublik Deutschland

Kudera, Sabine
August 1988
Zeitschrift für Soziologie;aug1988, Vol. 17 Issue 4, p249
Academic Journal
During a model study of members of various professions belonging to the so-called lower middle class (140 persons from 2 cohorts) it was found that the concept of "petit bourgeois" (the mentality of small shopkeepers or tradespeople, jokingly referred to in art circles as "Philistine" mentality) is quite indispensable to characterise the political outlook of a relevant proportion of the persons included in the survey. A certain type of political thinking became evident that is neither in line with that of middle-class employees nor with that of industrial workers while showing distinct relationships to traditionally lower-middle class views with moralising and conformist traits. However, there are obvious differences to the type of thinking that used to be so typical of the middle classes during the Weimar Republic in Germany between 1919 and 1933 and which definitely favoured the Fascist approach to the problems of the day. In view of the discredit into which history has brought authoritarian and dictatorial interpretational patterns, lower-middle class thinking is now preferably of a subpolitical nature and rather a cultural borderline against other groups of society that do not conform with bourgeois views; this points in the direction of negation of ideology but not in the direction of a general levelling-out. Nevertheless, the study also revealed that the political orientation of the individuals included in the survey is very heterogeneous and not confined to the "small shopkeepers" mentality. All the same, we should not underestimate the social importance of traditionally "petit bourgeois" thinking which acts as a retarding and restrictive influence on social development. This is probably much stronger and more widespread in small towns and non-urban regions in general than in this particular study group the members of which resided in large cities and were professionally well integrated. In view of present probable trends towards an increasing "battening-down of the hatches" between various groups of society, and thus an increasing tendency to isolation of social strata, we cannot dismiss "petit bourgeois" mentality as a thing of the past.


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