This article presents a theoretical framework that explains how middle-class formation took place through periods of democratic transition in the Philippines and South Korea from the 1970s to 1987. The authors argue that the idea of an inherently “democratic” and even “revolutionary”
middle class in the Philippines and South Korea is the product of political alliances, cultural differences, discursive adaptation, and narrative construction—all driven by the political context of the late Marcos (1965–1986) and Chun (1980–1987) regimes. The authors demonstrate
this by a close reading of descriptors of the middle class in public discourse, showing how moderate groups and their leftist rivals refined class language over time.