The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics

2018 Edition
| Editors: Macmillan Publishers Ltd


  • J. Foster
Reference work entry


The term bourgeoisie originally referred to the legal status of the town citizen in feudal France. In the Encyclopédie Diderot contrasted the political subordination of the citoyen bourgeois with the self-governing citoyen magistrat of ancient Greece. At the same time the French bourgeoisie (this term was first used in the 13th century) possessed certain economic and social rights, implicitly associated with the property required for trade, that distinguished it from the ordinary urban inhabitant or domicilié (Diderot 1753, III, 486–9).

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  • J. Foster
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