The meaning of marginality: Interpretations and perceptions in social science

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Interpretations and perceptions of the meaning of marginality and marginal regions differ among social scientists. Despite using shared sets of characteristics and determinants about marginality and marginal regions, no clear consensus has emerged. In this study we surveyed geographers and other social scientists in the United States and Canada in order to assess perceptions of marginality and marginal regions. Our analysis centered on characteristics and determinants, the use of a center/periphery model, and perceptions of marginality. We also attempted to assess social constructivist understandings of marginality. We identify two differing general conceptions of the meaning of marginality. Our findings suggest that marginality continues to be an elusive concept and that a clearer understanding of marginality is necessary if the concept is to be useful in social science analysis. © 2000 Elsevier Science Inc.

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Social Science Journal

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