Understanding Industrial Society: A Sociological Guide by Robin Theobald

By Robin Theobald

This article introduces the reader to a sociological standpoint on commercial society, geared toward scholars (both inside of and outdoors the social sciences) who search a common figuring out of the social outcomes of financial switch. because it assumes that almost all of its readers will finally prove operating in administration, the e-book focuses upon the organization and social relationships inside of it, aiming to supply a common historical past so one can lay the principles for extra distinctive research of organizational tactics and the issues of administration. It hence offers a sociological viewpoint on sleek societies for the final reader/non-specialist reader. It specializes in the economic climate and on organization and gives a normal history and starting place for additional, extra certain learn.

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This is not to argue that monetary exchange was entirely absent from feudal society: we have already seen that the serf had to render some of his dues in cash. He would also need cash to purchase some of the items or services which his peasant farm could not produce: salt, charcoal or the services of smiths, wheelwrights or thatchers, for example. In order to raise this cash, a portion of the food he grew would have to be sold in local markets. Despite these transactions the feudal economy was undoubtedly dominated by personal exchanges, that is, by exchanges between persons who are bound in some form of social relationship, for example, father-son, lord-peasant.

Craftsmen were needed to transform raw materials into commodities - bakers, brewers, tailors, saddlers. Urban life called for larger and more sophisticated buildings, hence an expansion in the crafts associated with construction: bricklayers, stonemasons, glaziers. And an increase in the volume of business transactions generated a need for more lawyers, copiers, moneylenders, bankers, brokers and contractors of various kinds. These occupations, it is emphasised, did not suddenly appear in the eleventh century.

By the beginning of the eighteenth century technological developments in England had promoted the centralisation of production in a number of industries: brewing, brickmaking, sugar-refining and the manufacture of soap and armaments, for example. Many establishments in these industries were owned and controlled by wealthy capitalists employing many hundreds of workers. The essential point, however, is that whilst it existed before, centralised production did not become the norm until after the Industrial Revolution, in fact until well into the second half of the nineteenth century.

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