the pre-industrial society is the one that correspond to the specific social characteristics, and forms of political and cultural organization that prevailed before industrial Revolution and the triumph of Capitalism, which industrial Society brought the restoration of one consequently .


The concept of pre-industrial society widely is used in science social, more than other similar concepts that can have ideological load, against that can consider like a term " it frees of valor" (to see Objectivity ). For example, traditional society is used interchangeable with, a term coined by Emile Durkheim in the division of the work in the society ( The Division of Work in Society ). It is objected to the use of this term that tradition implies stagnation, and so load the concept.

Marx, who founded the concept theoretically, used the expression precapitalist society, that is not a neutral term either, since it implies that the transition to Capitalism is inevitable Development or of Progress in the succession of the ways of production towards a future without classes in the communist society. Their followers (for example Louis Althusser ) use terms both indifferently.

Other synonymous ones are agrarian Society and premodern Society, both derivatives of Hegel and Marx. Although they are not strictly synonymous, each with his intellectual lineage and deserve independent treatment.

Theoretical foundations

  • Marxist and Hegeliana idea that history has a sense of Progress (to see Philosophy of history ), or is in the sense of the spirit (Hegel) or the productive forces and social relations (Marx).

  • the Marxist idea that history progresses by stages of development. Although this notion of gradual movement was implied by Marx ( The Grundrisse ); explicitly Dialectics was developed by Friedrich Engels in his of Nature and in The Origins of the Family, Private Property, and the State (the origin of the family, the private property and the state).

  • In classic Marxist theory, exists the idea that the progression of human history is determined by the production ways. ( economic Determinism, dialectic Materialism, historical Materialism ).

  • the pre-industrial stages would be:

    • 1- primitive Comunism (without private property)
    • 2- Esclavismo (sprouting of the property)
    • 3- Feudalism (consolidation of the authority)

The industrial or modern stages would be Capitalism, Socialism (like transition stage) and Comunism .

contemporary Theory political considers that Capitalism, when avoiding Transition to the socialism and the Comunism, has extended industrial stage . Daniel Bell has denominated to the present stage postindustrial society; others (for example Foucault ) use the denomination of " Post-modern . "

Characteristics of the pre-industrial societies

  • One traditional Authority . The power pronounced in several fromas of personalistas authorities, instead of by means of Been or impersonal Bureaucracy . Although bureaucracy and been exists in traditional societies, the modern State is not developed totally until Been Liberal prevails on the own particularismos of Old Regime . In pre-industrial societies a personal power can be exerted, even Paternalistic, but in that case it is understood like a pre-industrial survival, of Reactionary direction or Preservative, even, from another position, Facist .

  • One limited economic Production (in the industry, Crafts instead of Production in mass )

  • Economy essentially basic agriculturist.

  • Limited Division of the work : Capitalism needs a great amount abilities and specialized knowledge, given the complex nature of the industrial production. In the pre-industrial societies, the production was relatively simple, and therefore, the number of specialized offices was limited (despite, although this is certain for an increasing number of specialized workers, is not necessary to forget that at the same time it took place that most of the labor mass of the first industrial revolution had become Proletariado destitute of the traditional artisan ability, being reduced to mere servant of Machine and without capacity to identify his Work with product ; all this comprised than for Marx Alienation was the concept of )

  • Limited capacity of variation of social Classes ( social Mobility ).

  • Parroquialismo : The social theories maintain that Communication between the human communities in the pre-industrial societies era very limited. Few would have the opurtunidad to see or to have the news of outside their own village. On the contrary, the industrial societies grow with the faster mass media aid, having major Information on the world, which allows Transference of knowledge and cultural Diffusion among them. (When a survey was made to find out which had been the more influential technological advance in history, stood out of peculiar form Bicycle, that made possible the displacements on a modest scale, but incomparably more agile than with the traditional methods, and even allowed the biological mixture between human groups of a way until then impossible: if we raked in our familiar history we will surely find grandfathers who made one long but joyful pedalada one to see his fianc2ee, that he lived in another town).

  • the pre-industrial societies are mainly developed in Rural communities Capitalism is mainly developed in urban areas .

Critic of the concept

At recent time, many historians have argued who the popular concept of industrial Society must be relativized. The reason is that many of the social and economic phenomena normally associated with the industiral society (the commerce, the markets of capital, the work employee, etc.) also existed on modest scale in many pre-industrial societies, like Old Greece and Rome, Italy of century XV and the Holland of century XVII.

In addition, in mercantile Capitalism that preceded to industrial Capitalism when the society was still predominantly feudal, the capitalist commercial activity existed without mechanized factories that worked with work employee. Therefore, the development of capitalist markets in which more and more Inputs and Outputs of the production are subject goods and services to price and interchange, must be seen like a gradual process of evolution, and industrialization like a process that does not take place of a uniform way in the time and the space.

It is also seen

  • Modernization


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