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Industrial society is based on an economic mode of production that relies primarily on machine technology for the production of goods. Although the embryonic origins of the process of industrialization can be traced back to earlier periods—some historians push back to as early as the thirteenth century, while others move the date forward by some centuries—the period between 1750 and 1850 is generally considered to mark a watershed event of world historic importance, as the Industrial Revolution swept first through Britain and then elsewhere in Western Europe and North America. Although critics contend that the term revolution is inappropriate insofar as it implies rapid social change of an unprecedented and violent nature, social theorists have tended to side with the view advanced by social historian ...

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