Brill’s Encyclopedia of China

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(1,580 words)

Despite the early development of trade (domestic trade), of a financial system, and of handicrafts, as well as the simultaneous revival of the merchants' guilds, Chinese cities did not emerge as the cradle of an entrepreneurial bourgeoisie. The tight control which the bureaucracy exerted over society can be attributed to the state monopoly on the bestowment of the official titles which determined the hierarchy of social groups. Owing to their low status, merchants attempted, if possible, to have their sons ri…

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Bergère, Marie-Claire, “Bourgeoisie”, in: Brill’s Encyclopedia of China, Managing Editor English Edition: Daniel Leese. Consulted online on 05 December 2023 <>
First published online: 2008
First print edition: ISBN: 9789004168633, 20121018

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