Author:Norbert Petrovici (Babes-Bolyai University)
Paper short abstract:
We try to unfold historically the link between space and class in the Central European city of Cluj, addressing the problem of how the nationalism as politics of locality played an important role in the postsocialist dynamic between the working class and middle classes.
Paper long abstract:
Despite the fact that the biggest electoral support for tensed ethnic debates over the city center of Cluj came from the former socialist workers, they barely walk through it in their daily routines or popular celebrations. For the working class, nationalism was the language used to express and (attempt to) reverse their progressively severe postsocialist subordination. Although occupying a subordinate position in the social division of labor, from the point of view of the symbolic order, the worker was the key actor in the legitimizing socialist pantheon. However, after the collapse of the system, the privatization discourse turned the worker and the unions into an obstacle hindering the rebirth of factories as successful capitalist enterprises. In this new context, the language of nationalism and ethnicity offered Romanian working class an 'us' that attempt to cut across the class divisions in a city with a peculiar geography, where the young Romanian working class socialist neighborhoods bordered the Hungarian old middle class inner city. Ethnicity and nationalism played the role of a language/grammar? of power mobilized for the purpose of redrawing the socio-spatial positional asymmetries and thus articulating the right to the city for the working class. We will try to unfold historically the link between space and class in the Central European city of Cluj, addressing the way in which the politics of locality played a crucial role in the dynamic between the working class and middle classes.
Class as a subtext to neonationalism after 1989