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.
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