Marginalized and Marginalization


Marginalized is to be on the periphery, or the fringe, or the edge or the margin of a group, a community, a company or corporation, a society, a country or the global society. Marginalized can be applied to an individual, a group, community, a company, a corporation, a society or a country. Marginalized is the product or result of marginalization.

Marginalization is the process or mechanism of putting or pushing or placing an individual, a group, a community, or society, or company, or society or country on the fringe, the edge, the periphery or the margin relative to power or position or status or resources, culture or belief, or geography or history or some other criterion.

Marginal is the condition of being of lesser importance, or of lesser regard, or of lessor resources, or of lesser power, or of lesser culture or of lesser belief or some combination of these ascriptions.

Marginality is the experience or treatment or vulnerabilities of being marginal or marginalized.

Marginalized, Marginalization, Marginal and Marginality are to be contrasted with their opposites in meaning: Centralized, Centralization, Central and Centrality. To be explicit Centralized, centralization, central and centrality refer to the product, process, condition or experience of being main or prime or key or core, or center.  

Marginalized, Marginalization, Marginal and Marginality and Centralized, Centralization, Central and Centrality are different perspectives or aspects of the same social phenomenon of society: diversity and differences in human populations and societies.

Sources of Diversity and Differences

The two principal sources of human diversity and differences are first, the seamless but differentiated stages of the human life cycle for baby to old person and second the wide array and range of endowments with respect to sex, size, speed, strength, intelligences, imaginations, pigmentation and so many others. None of these in and of itself is either central or marginal although each is range of difference. All can function in mutual dependence.

The Cause of Marginalization and centralization

Human beings are social animals that live in groups. Further, adaptive advantage of the species resided in living in groups. While solitary human survival is possible, it is humans who have lived in groups who have continued the species. Group giving requires structure. In order to give structure to group living it was necessary to accord greater value and worth to some aspects of the diversity and some differences in the array of endowments. Accordingly, value and worth produces inequality and the consequence of inequality is marginalization and centralization of individuals and groups.

The Inherent and Permanent Flaw in Structure of Marginality and Centrality

The structure of any group or society is inevitably based on a combination in equalities that cannot be permanently or absolutely justified because they are arbitrary and largely the results of the accidents of birth, current and historical. The consequences are that marginalization and centralization is never of a single dimension or at single level. Individuals and groups are invariably marginalization or centralized on multiple dimensions and not consistently. A simple example is that of individuals and groups being doubly or triply or quadruple marginalized in relation to race, sex, age and religion. Also, an individual could be centralized in the household and doubly marginalized in the workplace. But neither race or sex or age or religion can be absolutely or permanent justified as bases of centralization and marginalization.

The result is that what bases are used to establish structure in society at any point is time will be contested successfully at some subsequent point in time. The structure of human society and marginality and centrality are periodically negotiated and re-negotiated.

Common Features of Marginality and Centrality

The following are common features of the conditions of Marginality and Centrality:

  • Neither is permanent nor absolute both can be changed
  • Neither is a social disease nor a fatal social condition. Both are social facts of society
  • Neither is the determinant nor final an arbiter of individual becoming. Both have obstacles and pitfall that can be overcome.
  • Neither is a justification for evil. Both can be the inspiration and source for good.
  • Both are largely attributions of birth and therefore challenges with which individuals and groups must contend.

The Dynamic Relationship between Marginalization and Centralization

Marginalization and Centralization are dynamic processes involving the centralized and the marginalized.  Both the marginalized and the centralized possess human agency. The ways in which centralized and marginalized people interact varies in time and in different places. Context is critical to understanding their dynamic relationship.

Tendencies of Centralization and Marginalization

By conventional wisdom centralization is positive and marginalization is negative. However, each has tendencies that are positive and negatives. Here is negatives of centralization is contrasted with the positives of marginalization.

  1. The centralized tends to become comfortable because they enjoy the best that there is to offer. The marginalized tend to become competitive and strong in coping with less.
  2. The centralized tend to become complacent in the belief that their advantage will continue. The marginalized tend to become creative and forward thinking in order to change their situation.
  3. The centralized tend to become corrupt by nepotism, cronyism and other practices that generate incompetence by giving advantages to those who do not merit such and are often not capable. The marginalized tend to develop competence by embracing merit because they must be better in order in order to survive.
  4. The centralized then to become conservative. They continue to hold on to practices, procedures, and policies that are outmoded or outlived their usefulness and relevant. The marginalized tend to become innovative, inventive and risk takers because they have little to lose.
  5. The centralized tend to depend of force, sometime illegally applied, laws that are immoral and practices that are unjust thus undermining the moral standing. The marginalized tend to develop moral courage, eloquence in moral suasion and as a result moral standing as they contest the injustices and immoralities of the centralized, some of who become outraged with their own group.

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