The meaning of marginality: Interpretations and perceptions in social science

Bradley T. Cullen*, Michael Pretes

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    62 Citations (Scopus)


    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.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)215-229
    Number of pages15
    JournalSocial Science Journal
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2000


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