Goodbye to petit bourgeois

Posted on July 27, 2015


I am very aware of if I think, speak or engage in conduct that I interpret as petty bourgeois. The reason is that I dissociate myself from petit bourgeois, because it exhibits some aspects of human beings, which I can not support.


This does not mean that I am totally clean for petit bourgeois. I’m not. I admit that I, in spite of my attention and constant attempts to combat the emerging petit bourgeois, occasionally see myself being petty. The reason I sometimes compromise is that I do bother to find myself outside the “normal” sphere; to be outside means unnecessary disruption from my surroundings, questioning, distancing, raised eyebrows at me and resistance that can stop or hinder me from achieving my goals in life and have the tranquility that I want.

What is petit bourgeois?

I put petit bourgeois equal to,

  1. Excessive focus on the exterior and form.
  2. Intolerance.
  3. Narrow-mindedness (danish: snæversyn).
  4. Pettiness (danish: smålighed).
  5. Ignorance.
  6. Zealousness (danish: nidkærhed).
  7. A corresponding absence of curiosity / wish to learn / understand the world better.

Focus on the outer and shape

An excessive focus on the home to – at all times – look tidy and clean. The furniture should preferably appear overvalued and look like furniture that acquaintances have. When the garden is cared for and looked after cleaned of weeds. When the lawn is mowed and free of moss. When garbage is stored and does not “looks ugly”. When the car is washed and clean; purchased from equity in the house, preferably an Audi, so the family can show the most economic performance externally. groom-828837_1280Behind the curtain: Piling interest and payment on mortgages, home loans, overdraft and consumer loans – locking the family possibility for maneuver many years ahead. But who cares – everything looks marvelous from the outside. “Marvelous” – seen from the acquaintance perspective of course.

I often find that the excessive emphasis on the exterior is often prioritized over inner balance and serenity. Families strive forward in life with an immediate nice exterior but with disorder and chaos inside. The hell with it. Just everything looks good. Plastered and “proper” villa, kitchen, TV, garden and car. Life is led to the exterior and at the expense of the interior. Life is form without content.


Even worse is the presence of intolerance in the petit bourgeois way of life. Intolerance as a lack of understanding and acceptance of others and their opinions or behavior. Here you might think of xenophobia – that I come to.

I see intolerance as the close; family and friends is limited in behavior and articulation of life because they have to abide to special standards of behavior. If you step next, you risk being frozen out, be reprimanded or talked behind your back. So ordinary child-like behavior because you do not fit into the local norm.

Intolerance is present in groups, in families and pronounced in smaller towns – the last perhaps because the ethnic and social diversity and scale is smaller than it is in the larger cities.

jesus-673074_1280Then we come to the lack of intolerance towards non-ethnic Danes. It exists and is an almost permanent feature of the petit bourgeois thinking. It exists even though it is about 2, 3, 4 or 5 generation immigrants or refugees. Uh. They have different features. Wear strange clothes. Eat strange food. Live a life that is totally different from us Danes!

The problem here is that petty Danes for convenience “cuts all over the comb”; again – no energy is used to think. It is the same all along; the linear logic is so thick that even the blind can feel their way (example): Islamists terrorizes an Asian country => Denmark receives Muslim immigrants and refugees => All Muslim immigrants and refugees are for sure terrorists! Or, all immigrants and refugees uses the Danish welfare system! (Yes, anybody does. But more Danes probably do because more Danes receives public benefits! The point here is that the system is wrong).


Another vexed ingredient in the petit bourgeois thinking is narrow-mindedness. Narrow-mindedness as a limited and one-sided way of looking at an item. As I see it we can all be be narrow-minded briefly. But then we learn something new, moving us mentally because we look from a different angle and get a new perspective on a topic.

The problem is that petty Danes does not move and look from a different angle. Narrow sight is permanent. It is also the most easy approach. Then again – we do not need to think further, but simply maintain our non-thoughtful and limited images of any subject. Able to reply to anything – in half the time.


Pettiness that can be defined as you do not give very much to other people, very fussy and pedantic, including excessive attention to detail and small items. The petty Dane suits his and expect all other to mind their own. But if others around exceed the invisible border of what is “allowed”, then action must be taken and the applicable standards must be enforced.

Pettiness fits like a glove with narrow-mindedness and intolerance. Even small deviations from the norm causes irritation. Great to live your life that way… It can only give rise to many overlapping irritations when “the world” does not strictly follow the proper ways of living, behavior and choice of words. One can say that the petty bourgeois Dane incur endless many irritations due tolerance limits are set too low, which inevitably leads to someone with exceeds the rules. Well, time goes with it – like the work to obtain the edge of the lawn.


Zealousness  fits “well” as mental function, when coupled with pettiness and narrow-mindedness. Zealousness  as someone who keeps a very strict eye on something observed, performed in a certain way, following certain rules or principles, etc. .; much or excessively meticulous. You can almost see it: The petty bourgeois Dane patrolling around his domain of property, applied inferiority, ignorance, secrecy and ignorance. Principled, biased and ready to defend his position at the smallest overstepping (physically, mentally, verbally or visually).

A bit like with pettiness – zealousness ensures that the petty bourgeois Dane constantly is working to defend and preserve his real world. The aim here is to respect the rules. But only rules you yourself follow of course.

Ignorance coupled with the absence of a wish to understand the world better (narrow-mindedness)

An ignorant person – a person who does not know better.

With ignorance – curiosity and openness towards the world are gone. The limited and outdated knowledge that the petty bourgeois live by, stands firm as the absolute. This should be annoying for the petty bourgeois and his surroundings; think of all the new knowledge produced every day that never come into use: Knowledge that can help the petty everyday life and in life in general. Everything is “twice as unfortunate” when ignorance is coupled on narrow-mindedness – I know best and have chosen to perceive the situation (in this limited way)!

Consequences of petit bourgeois

I realize that many of the adverse consequences in the above review are obvious. Even though, I summarize below and try to see it from different perspectives.

Basically, a petit bourgeois person is characterized with the following square layout:

  • Focus on external and form: You live a life mostly on form and lack of substance.
  • Intolerance: You lack understanding and acceptance of others and their opinions or behavior.
  • Narrow-mindedness: You perceive the world in a limited and one-sided way.
  • Pettiness: You do not give others very much. You are very fussy and pedantic and have an exaggerated interest in details and trifles.
  • Zealousness: You keep a very strict eye on something observed, it must be performed in a certain way, following certain rules or principles; much or excessively meticulous.
  • Ignorance: You are generally unaware and are not open to learning new.

The description of the petit bourgeois person is for me both unsympathetic and annoying seen in a societal perspective.


The petty bourgeois lives life with a focus on a perfect outside, and economic capacity displayed in a way to match the circle of friends taste for cars, kitchen, furniture etc. You do not generally care about people who are different from you unless they on the surface represents more economic performance and success than yourself.

You have a limited knowledge of the world around and do not want to expand your horizons and learn new. You are namely afraid of losing reputation and external value because of not being in control of an important area in life; this is due to your lack of knowledge that the loss of value is briefly until you have learned the new.

You do not have the courage to innovate or try something else. To make sure that you always get the most out of every situation and think only of increasing the value of your expression externally. This means that you use the few rules (official or otherwise) that you know and ensures that everyone in your vicinity comply with these – so no one obtains “not justified” value that you could have gotten.

Your petty behavior means that you are helping to sustain yourself, your family and entourage in a poor intellectual world view.

You support and nourish a breeding ground for xenophobia and opposition to anything that is not like you. You contribute to maintaining the social heritage and thereby not helping the next generations in a social, intelligent and economic way of life.

For the curious (Danish) reader, the political consequences of petit bourgeois, please read Mads Holgers article “bourgeois unit has unfortunately become legitimate in our culture” (Berlingske, May 15, 2015).

(Pics from