The term petit-bourgeois is used to describe a characteristic of the lower middle class (French etymology), when coining members of the lower middle class, usually implying a certain social behaviour, and with reference to both conventionalism and conversatism.

Although used primarily in academic discourse in the past, the term has evolved and is now being embraced by a wider group of people, that opposes these paradigms. It is often considered an ideology of its own, emphasising that certain values are considered to be defining for your happiness. These include family life, economic safety and social prestige.

The opposing fractions are usually associated with Cultural Leftism.

Recently, focus has been brought to the subject with another perspective, when Hollywood director Sam Mendes created the motion picture American Beauty, describing life in American suburbia.