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Industrial Society | Concept & Examples

Katherine Williams, David White
  • Author
    Katherine Williams

    Katherine Williams has an Mth in Theological Ethics and Philosophy from The University of Aberdeen and a BA in Theatre Arts from Oral Roberts University. Katherine has 10+ years of experience teaching literacy, essay composition, philosophy, and world languages. Katherine is also a TEFL-Certified ESL teacher. She has 3 years of experience teaching and developing curriculum for ESL students.

  • Instructor
    David White
Learn about industrial societies. Understand what industrial societies are, explore the main characteristics of industrial societies, and review examples. Updated: 03/07/2022

Table of Contents


What is an Industrial Society?

Industrial societies are named after the ever-increasing use of industrialization and machinery to innovate and make scientific and technological advances. Industrial societies began through the industrialization of the textile industry.

The industrialization definition distinguishes industrialized countries from "developing" or "underdeveloped" countries because it means that a nation has developed an economy and society that focuses on industry and produces goods via mass production.

Industrialization has been a significant factor in what makes developed countries what they are now, as industrialization helped their economies and even helped them win wars. The three major industrialized countries that the term ''industrial society'' refers to are the ''Big Three'' of the Allies in World War II: the United States, Russia, and England.

There are several defining characteristics of industrialized societies, including large urban centers, the tertiary sector (the service sector) of their economies, large-scale organizations (companies and corporations), and mass production. Industrial societies are also characterized as self-sustaining and self-perpetuating. Since industrial societies manufacture goods for themselves, and oftentimes for trade, the society's economy is able to support itself. Additionally, factory work and distribution also create many entry-level jobs, further boosting the economy since more money is in the hands of the people and circulating throughout the society. This promotes consumerism. Additionally, the need for a less skilled workforce to complete tasks means that less time and resource is spent training and fixing mistakes. This increases overall company productivity which allows for more products to be produced in a shorter amount of time than in the previous eras.

The methods used by industrialized societies to get goods to the market involve mass production, which is also called "Fordism" after Henry Ford. Mass production involves dividing work so that each person does a straightforward task, which can be done to a higher standard. As mass production increased and technology improved, assembly lines that were manned by people could be taken over by machinery, freeing people to do other jobs within the company. In modern-day, most assembly lines use a combination of machinery and manpower.

Mass production is when goods are evenly distributed to meet market needs.

Black and white machinery.

History of Industrialization

Industrialization is the process of social and economic change that transforms a culture from being an agrarian (agricultural) society into an industrial one.

The Industrial Revolution started in Great Britain around 1770 when textile makers began using new machines to make thread more quickly than before. Industrialization also brought about social change in Great Britain because huge cities were built, and a new working class sprang up who needed places to live and work.

Industrialism was established in the United States between 1820 and 1840. This time frame marks the "First Industrial Revolution."

The First Industrial Revolution was quickly replaced by another industrial society called the "Second Industrial Revolution" (1870-1910). The Second Industrial Revolution brought about more modern forms of manufacturing and production.

The Second Industrial Revolution produced several inventions, including electricity, the telephone, and cars. This time it happened in Europe, America, and Japan. Around this time, some inventors made steam engines powered by coal. This energy source made it possible for people to build machines used across many diverse industries. These technological and societal changes led to the growth of the economy, which meant that more money was being made.

The Second Industrial Revolution was a period of great change in a society's way of life. It was an era when technological advances were made rapidly. The introduction of electric power had a significant impact on how people lived their lives because it allowed for many tasks to be done more quickly than before. It was also characterized by improved transportation, mechanization, and a more effective use of natural resources.

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  • 0:01 What Is an Industrial Society?
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Frequently Asked Questions

What are the characteristics of industrial societies?

Industrial societies are characterized by the use of large-scale production and mass-production techniques in order to make products. Some other characteristics include the use of power sources (such as coal, oil, and natural gas) and machines to produce goods, as well as that most people work in factories or offices.

What is an example of an industrial society?

An industrial society is a society where people work in factories and other industrial facilities. The United States' Industrial Revolution in the 1800s is an example of an industrial society.

What would you find in an industrial society?

An industrial society is characterized by many things and is often found in urban areas, but there can be factories in remote locations as well. An industrial society is self-sustaining, self-perpetuating, and, since there are many entry-level jobs, boosts the economy by putting more money and resources into the hands of workers. This produces consumerism.

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