Paper long abstract:
During the neoliberal restructuring in the first postsocialist decade, class and marginality in Cluj, Romania, tended to be constituted in the language of localist identity. The city center bared the marks of the symbolic fights where the former socialist workers, made redundant, claimed their right to the city by supporting nationalist public reordering. However, in the second decade the center was apparently neutralized politically by means of commodification, the coffee houses have become landmarks of centre. The new middle class was becoming more sophisticated and their consumption places were becoming increasingly complex, producing two types of spaces, 'cultural coffee shops' and 'posh coffee shops', used by two opposing middle class factions. The working class reappropriation of the city center by means of localist language was replaced by intra-class struggles, where the politics of image and selfhood became major instruments in reshaping the political discourses over legitimate public intervention.
Out in public: towards an anthropology of public socialities in urban space