Document 2A: Charles Fourier, "Social Evolution," Le Nouveau Monde Industriel et Sociétaire, (The New Industrial and Associated World, 1829), reprinted in Selections from the Works of Fourier, edited by Charles Gide and translated by Julia Franklin (London: Sonnenschein, 1901, reprinted New York: Gordon Press, 1972), p. 50.

Charles Fourier
Source: The Warren J. Samuels Portrait Collection at Duke University

Introduction

       Charles Fourier (1772-1837) critiqued industrial society at its birth and proposed new forms of social organization to take its place. Excerpted from his writings between 1808 and 1851, the following four documents illustrate different dimensions of his utopian thought: his critique of the present stage of human development, which he called "civilization;" his criticism of the limitations on women's talents in "civilization" (see Document 2B); his design for utopian communities called "Phalanx" (see Document 2C); and his plan to make better use of women's labor (see Document 2D). These aspects of Fourier's thought expressed his hope for the evolution of a more efficient and harmonious society that would integrate work, family, and community life more productively and peacefully.

HUMANITY in its social career has thirty-six periods to pass through; I give below a table of the first, which will suffice for the matter contained in this volume:

LADDER OF THE FIRST AGE OF THE SOCIAL WORLD.
Periods anterior to
industry.

Industry divided up,
repulsive.

Industry associative,
attractive.

{
 
{
 
{
K.
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
Bastard, without man.
Primitive, termed Eden.
Savage state or inertia.
Patriarchism, small industry.
Barbarism, medium industry.
Civilisation, large industry.
Guaranteeism, semi-association.
Sociantism, simple association.
Harmonism, composite association.

        I make no mention of the ninth and the following periods because we are not able at present to elevate ourselves beyond the eighth which, itself, is an infinitely happy one when compared with the four existing states of society. It will spread suddenly and spontaneoulsy over the whole of the human race, owing simply to the influence of profit, pleasure, and, above all, industrial attraction,--a mechanism with which our statesman and moralists are quite unacquainted.--(N. M., II.)

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