Marginal: definition, meaning of the word in simple words, examples of use. Who are the marginalized?

Marginal: definition

  • A marginal is a person whose worldview, principles and way of life do not correspond to the orders and norms accepted in society.
  • Marginalized people are also called people who, for one reason or another, have lost social functions - they deny the laws of culture, religion, morality of their nation, country or community, but at the same time do not join other social groups, being outside classes and associations of people.
  • Along with this definition, nowadays “marginal personality” is a fashionable concept that affects the idea of ​​freedom and independence, of a person being outside the system, outside the laws imposed by the existing social structure.

The term “marginal” comes from the Latin “margo”, which means edge. Originally, the word “marginalia” meant handwritten notes in the margins of books related to the content. In 1928, the American sociologist R. Park introduced this term to describe the behavior of an individual located outside of existing social groups.

Marginalized people - people who avoid social contacts

Society's attitude

Society has formed the erroneous opinion that marginalized individuals are at the very bottom. In fact, among them there are many successful people who succeed, in their free time they can live the life that suits them. Acquiring such status may be a conscious choice, or it may also be forced.

In everyday speech, “marginal” is used with a negative connotation and is considered as a deviation. People must understand that this type of personality is not socially dangerous. For some, marginalized people cause a negative reaction, for others they evoke sympathy. Historically, society tries to protect itself from the influence of strangers; when it sees that a person cannot meet its expectations, is distinguished by non-standard reactions, it cannot perceive such a person and isolates him.

Often the marginalized become undeserved victims. When problems start in a group of people, the one who is different in some way always becomes the culprit, even if he has nothing to do with it.

Willingness to adapt, flexibility, openness to new things, along with the tolerance of a certain group of people, can help an individual overcome all differences and adapt to a new society.

Marginal: the meaning of the word in simple words

  • In the 1930s, marginalized people were residents of rural areas who came to big cities to earn money but never got a job, emigrants who were unable to settle down in their new homeland, as well as people left without work or a roof over their heads. Later the term acquired a broader meaning.
  • Marginalized people are people who have lost touch with the society in which they live. The marginalized should not be perceived as second-class citizens. It’s just that their behavior is noticeably different from the stable majority, accepted traditions and foundations.

In the dictionary you can find a general definition of the term “marginal”

Who are the marginalized?

Some modern psychologists and sociologists believe that the marginal personality type is more intellectual and developed, open to change, independent of limiting factors and dual standards of society. The marginalized include completely different people with dissimilar life situations, who, due to current circumstances, become outcasts from society:

  • People with any physical disabilities.
  • People suffering from mental illnesses.
  • Representatives of non-traditional religious movements and sects.
  • Hermits who deliberately oppose their beliefs to the norms of public opinion.
  • People who find themselves below the poverty line, who do not strive to improve their situation.
  • People involved in criminal activities.

Distinctive character traits of marginalized people are:

  • Negative attitude towards others
  • Refusal of social contacts and desire for privacy
  • Egocentrism
  • Unfulfilled ambitions
  • Anxiety and phobias

The appearance of marginalized people often differs from accepted norms

Non-judgmental concept

By and large, this concept is non-evaluative. For example, I.V. Malyshev points out that marginal behavior is “neither good nor bad.” He also notes that the concept of “marginal” does not have a permanent detonation. What dominates today will be on the margins of the structure tomorrow. Indeed, someone who recently was a “black sheep” often becomes a role model. He transforms from a fringe into a representative of the ruling class. This was the case, for example, with the “new Russians” – aspiring businessmen in Russia.

E. Starikov formulated a rather original approach to understanding marginality. This researcher noted that marginal behavior is behavior that is neutral in relation to evaluations (positive or negative), but at the same time has a multi-vector nature. Marginality is the process of reassembling the mosaic of society, when large masses of people move from one social group to another. The researcher noted that this disease is evidence of the growth of a social organism.

Types of marginalized people

Among all types of outcasts of society, 4 main groups of marginalized people can be distinguished:


This type of marginality depends on changes in the material sphere - loss of work, usual sources of income, cash savings or property. All these factors lead to a reassessment of values, a search for new ways to earn money, and often to anger and abandonment of the usual social circle. The most severe type of economic marginality is a drop in self-esteem due to the inability to improve well-being, alcoholism, drug addiction, and personality destruction.


Social marginality is associated with the desire to achieve a higher social status, to join another social group - a transition to a more prestigious job or a highly paid position, an advantageous marriage. If such an improvement in social status does not last long or ends in failure, the person loses ties with his previous environment and finds himself in the position of an outcast.


Political marginality manifests itself against the backdrop of political crises, distrust in government and a decline in civic consciousness. Such people deliberately oppose themselves to society with the existing political system, oppose public opinion, norms and laws.


This type includes people who, for some reason, changed their place of residence and found themselves among representatives of another nationality or ethnic group. In such cases, in addition to the language barrier, migrants have difficulties in perceiving an alien culture and traditions. This is especially pronounced in cases where the new environment differs significantly from the usual one - in religion, way of life, and mentality. Ethnic marginality is the most difficult to overcome, since it is based on factors that a person cannot change - appearance, religious affiliation, customs and traditions.

Forced marginality is associated with excluding oneself from the existing society

Excerpt characterizing Marginal Science

“He’s having fun at my expense,” Ermolov said quietly, nudging Raevsky, who was standing next to him, with his knee.
Soon after this, Ermolov moved forward to Kutuzov and respectfully reported: “Time has not been lost, your lordship, the enemy has not left.” What if you order an attack? Otherwise the guards won’t even see the smoke. Kutuzov said nothing, but when he was informed that Murat’s troops were retreating, he ordered an offensive; but every hundred steps he stopped for three quarters of an hour. The whole battle consisted only in what Orlov Denisov’s Cossacks did; the rest of the troops only lost several hundred people in vain. As a result of this battle, Kutuzov received a diamond badge, Bennigsen also received diamonds and a hundred thousand rubles, others, according to their ranks, also received a lot of pleasant things, and after this battle even new movements were made at headquarters. “This is how we always do things, everything is topsy-turvy!” - Russian officers and generals said after the Tarutino battle, - exactly the same as they say now, making it feel like someone stupid is doing it this way, inside out, but we wouldn’t do it that way. But people who say this either do not know the matter they are talking about or are deliberately deceiving themselves. Every battle - Tarutino, Borodino, Austerlitz - is not carried out as its managers intended. This is an essential condition. An innumerable number of free forces (for nowhere is a person freer than during a battle, where it is a matter of life and death) influences the direction of the battle, and this direction can never be known in advance and never coincides with the direction of any one force. If many, simultaneously and variously directed forces act on some body, then the direction of movement of this body cannot coincide with any of the forces; and there will always be an average, shortest direction, what in mechanics is expressed by the diagonal of a parallelogram of forces. If in the descriptions of historians, especially French ones, we find that their wars and battles are carried out according to a certain plan in advance, then the only conclusion that we can draw from this is that these descriptions are not true. The Tarutino battle, obviously, did not achieve the goal that Tol had in mind: in order to bring troops into action according to disposition, and the one that Count Orlov could have had; to capture Murat, or the goals of instantly exterminating the entire corps, which Bennigsen and other persons could have, or the goals of an officer who wanted to get involved and distinguish himself, or a Cossack who wanted to acquire more booty than he acquired, etc. But , if the goal was what actually happened, and what was a common desire for all Russian people then (the expulsion of the French from Russia and the extermination of their army), then it will be completely clear that the Tarutino battle, precisely because of its inconsistencies, was the same , which was needed during that period of the campaign. It is difficult and impossible to imagine any outcome of this battle that would be more expedient than the one it had. With the least tension, with the greatest confusion and with the most insignificant loss, the greatest results of the entire campaign were achieved, the transition from retreat to offensive was made, the weakness of the French was exposed and the impetus that Napoleon’s army had only been waiting for to begin their flight was given. Napoleon enters Moscow after a brilliant victory de la Moskowa; there can be no doubt about victory, since the battlefield remains with the French. The Russians retreat and give up the capital. Moscow, filled with provisions, weapons, shells and untold riches, is in the hands of Napoleon. The Russian army, twice as weak as the French, did not make a single attack attempt for a month. Napoleon's position is most brilliant. In order to fall with double forces on the remnants of the Russian army and destroy it, in order to negotiate an advantageous peace or, in case of refusal, to make a threatening move towards St. Petersburg, in order to even, in case of failure, return to Smolensk or Vilna , or stay in Moscow - in order, in a word, to maintain the brilliant position in which the French army was at that time, it would seem that no special genius is needed. To do this, it was necessary to do the simplest and easiest thing: to prevent the troops from looting, to prepare winter clothes, which would be enough in Moscow for the entire army, and to properly collect the provisions that were in Moscow for more than six months (according to French historians) for the entire army. Napoleon, this most brilliant of geniuses and who had the power to control the army, as historians say, did nothing of this. Not only did he not do any of this, but, on the contrary, he used his power to choose from all the paths of activity that presented itself to him that which was the stupidest and most destructive of all. Of all the things that Napoleon could do: winter in Moscow, go to St. Petersburg, go to Nizhny Novgorod, go back, north or south, the way that Kutuzov later went - well, whatever he could come up with, was stupider and more destructive than what he did Napoleon, that is, to remain in Moscow until October, leaving the troops to plunder the city, then, hesitating, to leave or not to leave the garrison, to leave Moscow, to approach Kutuzov, not to start a battle, to go to the right, to reach Maly Yaroslavets, again without experiencing the chance of breaking through , to go not along the road that Kutuzov took, but to go back to Mozhaisk and along the devastated Smolensk road - nothing more stupid than this, nothing more destructive for the army could be imagined, as the consequences showed. Let the most skillful strategists come up with, imagining that Napoleon’s goal was to destroy his army, come up with another series of actions that would, with the same certainty and independence from everything that the Russian troops did, would destroy the entire French army, like what Napoleon did. The genius Napoleon did it. But to say that Napoleon destroyed his army because he wanted it, or because he was very stupid, would be just as unfair as to say that Napoleon brought his troops to Moscow because he wanted it, and because that he was very smart and brilliant. In both cases, his personal activity, which had no more power than the personal activity of each soldier, only coincided with the laws according to which the phenomenon took place. It is completely false (only because the consequences did not justify Napoleon’s activities) that historians present to us Napoleon’s forces as weakened in Moscow. He, just as before and after, in the 13th year, used all his skill and strength to do the best for himself and his army. Napoleon's activities during this time were no less amazing than in Egypt, Italy, Austria and Prussia. We do not know truly the extent to which Napoleon’s genius was real in Egypt, where forty centuries they looked at his greatness, because all these great exploits were described to us only by the French. We cannot correctly judge his genius in Austria and Prussia, since information about his activities there must be drawn from French and German sources; and the incomprehensible surrender of corps without battles and fortresses without siege should incline the Germans to recognize genius as the only explanation for the war that was waged in Germany. But, thank God, there is no reason for us to recognize his genius in order to hide our shame. We paid for the right to look at the matter simply and directly, and we will not give up this right. His work in Moscow is as amazing and ingenious as everywhere else. Orders after orders and plans after plans emanate from him from the time he entered Moscow until he left it. The absence of residents and deputations and the very fire of Moscow do not bother him. He does not lose sight of the welfare of his army, nor the actions of the enemy, nor the welfare of the peoples of Russia, nor the administration of the valleys of Paris, nor diplomatic considerations about the upcoming conditions of peace. In military terms, immediately upon entering Moscow, Napoleon strictly orders General Sebastiani to monitor the movements of the Russian army, sends corps along different roads and orders Murat to find Kutuzov. Then he diligently gives orders to strengthen the Kremlin; then he makes an ingenious plan for a future campaign across the entire map of Russia. In terms of diplomacy, Napoleon calls to himself the robbed and ragged captain Yakovlev, who does not know how to get out of Moscow, sets out to him in detail all his policies and his generosity and, writing a letter to Emperor Alexander, in which he considers it his duty to inform his friend and brother that Rastopchin made bad decisions in Moscow, he sends Yakovlev to St. Petersburg. Having outlined his views and generosity in the same detail to Tutolmin, he sends this old man to St. Petersburg for negotiations. In legal terms, immediately after the fires, it was ordered to find the perpetrators and execute them. And the villain Rostopchin is punished by being ordered to burn his house. In administrative terms, Moscow was granted a constitution, a municipality was established and the following was promulgated: “Residents of Moscow! Your misfortunes are cruel, but His Majesty the Emperor and King wants to stop their course. Terrible examples have taught you how he punishes disobedience and crime. Strict measures are taken to stop the disorder and restore everyone's safety. The paternal administration, elected from among yourself, will constitute your municipality or city government. It will care about you, about your needs, about your benefit. Its members are distinguished by a red ribbon, which will be worn over the shoulder, and the city head will have a white belt on top of it. But, except during their office, they will only have a red ribbon around their left hand. The city police were established according to the previous situation, and through its activities a better order exists. The government appointed two general commissars, or chiefs of police, and twenty commissars, or private bailiffs, stationed in all parts of the city. You will recognize them by the white ribbon they will wear around their left arm. Some churches of different denominations are open, and divine services are celebrated in them without hindrance. Your fellow citizens return daily to their homes, and orders have been given that they should find in them help and protection following misfortune. These are the means that the government used to restore order and alleviate your situation; but in order to achieve this, it is necessary that you unite your efforts with him, so that you forget, if possible, your misfortunes that you have endured, surrender to the hope of a less cruel fate, be sure that an inevitable and shameful death awaits those who dare to your persons and your remaining property, and in the end there was no doubt that they would be preserved, for such is the will of the greatest and fairest of all monarchs. Soldiers and residents, no matter what nation you are! Restore public trust, the source of happiness of the state, live like brothers, give mutual help and protection to each other, unite to refute the intentions of evil-minded people, obey the military and civil authorities, and soon your tears will stop flowing.” Source - ""


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