Suburbanisation and Middle Class Imaginaires in the Post-Socialist City. A Romanian Case Study

Open access


The article is a contribution to the debates on the topics of class divide and urban development in the ex-Socialist Bloc after the 1990 regime change. In the first part, it renders the roots and limitations of the middle class concept and shows the role the concept played in the transition narrative. After it elaborates on how the middle class can be understood within the broader discussion on contemporary global class restructuring under the neoliberal forces, in the second part the article provides, using qualitative data, a micro social and economic history of the city of Cluj-Napoca, which reveals and explains how flows of capital investments grant the economic conditions for a strata of people to embrace the middle class’s ideal and values, and how this new material basis is reflected in the spatial restructuring of the city.

If the inline PDF is not rendering correctly, you can download the PDF file here.

  • *** (2016). Sociological and Anthropological Perspectives on Religion and Economy: Emerging Spiritualities and the Future of Work Studia UBB Sociologia 61 (2) Special Issue: 5-164.

  • Arrighi Giovanni (2010). The Long Twentieth Century. London: Verso.

  • Baldassare M. (1992). Suburban Communities. Annual Review of Sociology 18: 475-494.

  • Bell Daniel (1973). The Coming of Post-Industrial Society. Basic Books.

  • Boltanski Luc and Eve Chiapello (2005). The New Spirit of Capitalism. London: Verso.

  • Brubaker Rogers; Margit Feischmidt; John Fox; Liana Grancea (2006). Nationalist Politics and Everyday Ethnicity in a Transylvanian Town. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

  • Brincoveanu Romulus (2005). Romania from the end of discourse. Sfera Politicii 114: 2-5.

  • Buden Boris (2009). Zone des Übergangs. Vom Ende des Postkommunismus. Suhrkamp Verlag.

  • Buchowski Michał (2001). Rethinking Transformation of Anthropological Perspective on Post-Socialism. Wydawnictwo Humaniora.

  • Coraian Zoltan (2016). Planul de mobilitate urbană durabilă Cluj-Napoca (last accessed 29.01.2017).

  • Eyal Gil Szelenyi Ivan and Townsley Eleanor (2001). Making Capitalism without Capitalists: The New Ruling Elites in Eastern Europe. New York: Verso Books.

  • Fehérváry Kisztina (2002). American Kitchens Luxury Bathrooms and the Search for a ‘Normal’ Life in Postsocialist Hungary. Ethnos 67 (3): 369–400.

  • Gog Sorin (2016). Alternative Forms of Spirituality and the Socialization of a Self-Enhancing Subjectivity: Features of the Post-Secular Religious Space in Contemporary Romania. In Sorin Gog and Anca Simionca (Eds.). Sociological and Anthropological Perspectives on Religion and Economy: Emerging Spiritualities and the Future of Work Studia UBB Sociologia 61 (2) Special Issue: 5-164.

  • Gustafson Thane (1999). Capitalism Russian-Styie. Cambridge University Press.

  • Hobsbawm Eric (1987). The Age of Empire (1875-1914). New York: Vintage Books.

  • Humphrey Caroline (1991). Icebergs Barter and the Mafia in Provincial Russia Anthropology Today 7 (2): 8-13.

  • Ionescu-Heroiu et al (2013). Growth Poles. The Next Phase (last accessed 27.01.2017).

  • Judt Tony (2005). Postwar: A History of Europe Since 1945. William Heinemann.

  • Kalb Don; James G. Carrier (2015). Anthropologies of Class. Cambridge University Press.

  • Karnoouh C.; Drweski B. (eds.) (2005). La grande braderie à l’Est. Le Temps de Cerises.

  • Low Setha (2003). Behind the Gates. Life Security and the Pursuit of Happiness in Fortress America. New York: Routlege.

  • Le Corbusier (1986 [1923]). Towards a New Architecture. New York: Dover.

  • Lopez A. Ricardo; Weinstein B. (eds.) (2012). The Making of the Middle Class. Toward a Transnational History. Duke University Press.

  • Mills C Wright (1951). White Collar: The American Middle Classes. New York: Oxford University Press.

  • Nazpari Joma (2002). Post-Soviet Chaos. Violence and Dispossession in Kazakhstan. London: Pluto Press.

  • Patico Jennifer (2008). Consumption and Social Change in a Post-Soviet Middle Class. Stanford: Stanford University Press.

  • Petrovici Norbert (2012). Workers and the City: Rethinking the Geographies of Power in Post-Socialist Urbanisation. Urban Studies 49 (11): 2377-2397.

  • Polanska D (2010). The Emergences of Gated Communities in Post-Communist Urban Context: and the reasons for their increasing popularity. Journal of Housing and the Built Environment 25 (3): 295-312.

  • Stanilov Kiril (ed.) (2007). The Post-Socialist City. Springer.

  • Troc Gabriel (2013). Locuire şi sociabilitate în cartierul postsocialist. Revista de antropologie urbană 1 (1): 29-48.

  • Verdery Katherine (1996). What Was Socialism and What Comes Next? Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Journal information
Impact Factor

CiteScore 2018: 0.04

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2018: 0.100
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2018: 0.000

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 0 0 0
Full Text Views 66 66 8
PDF Downloads 56 56 10