Pub. date: 2008 | Online Pub. Date: May 28, 2008 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412963930 | Print ISBN: 9781412941655 | Online ISBN: 9781412963930| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
From an intercultural perspective, the term marginal generally refers to an individual identity outcome of being caught between two worlds, with a sense of not quite belonging in either one, following a move into another culture, such as a migrant or study-abroad student. By moving into a new culture, an individual discovers that the known ways of being and doing no longer serve effectively. This discovery is both psychological and social: the initial shock of discovery that no longer does a mutual sharing of assumed cultural knowledge exist leads to difficulties in striving to create connections in this new cultural context. Individual outcomes of such cultural contact vary, and marginality—in the general sense of not quite belonging or fitting into a new culture—is one particular identity outcome of this process. Ongoing study of marginality has occurred since the social science introduction in early 20th-century Europe of the concept of the ...