On the sidelines of life: marginality phenomenon in the urban environment

On the sidelines of life: marginality phenomenon in the urban environment

Dadaeva T.M.

Dr. Sci. (Soc.), Prof., Department of Sociology, N.P. Ogarev Mordovia State University, Saransk, Russia dadaeva13@mail.ru

Spiridonova K.M.

Undergraduate, Department of Sociology N.P. Ogarev Mordovia State University, Saransk, Russia spiridonova.ksusha@yandex.ru

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Dadaeva T.M., Spiridonova K.M. On the sidelines of life: marginality phenomenon in the urban environment. Sotsiologicheskie issledovaniya [Sociological Studies]. 2017. No 8. P. 118-123


The economic crisis in Russian society of the 1990-s caused massive downward social mobility, resulting in a marginal stratum of people thrown out of the old social structure and trying to enter into new, recently formed social groups and strata. In the cities, there were vagabonds, tramps, homeless people, beggars who have lost touch with their social groups, and were in a situation of social identification’s uncertainty. In this regard, sociological analysis of the population’s marginal practices in modern conditions is particularly relevant. We consider three main approaches to conceptualizing marginality: cultural marginality, marginality of social role and structural marginality. With regard to our study the most fruitful concept of social (structural) marginality, is related to the marginal position of individuals or of social groups in the society’s social structure and is defined as an intermediate position between the structural units, or the lowest position in the social hierarchy. In order to identify the factors, the causes of the individuals transition to marginalized groups and determine the conditions of their life in January and February 2016 we conducted a qualitative sociological research (biographical interview) in marginalized groups (homeless people, beggars) of Saransk “The margin in the urban environment” (20 interviews). Guide of interview included following thematic blocks: the causes and experience of marginal practices, livelihoods, living conditions and lifestyles, the ratio of marginal groups so on. It concluded that the main reasons for falling into marginal stratum of society are: the loss of family relationships, alcohol abuse (often after divorce and the loss of family ties), property loss, imprisonment and the loss of adaptive mechanisms. Many are undocumented. The men of working age after 40 to 50 years dominated among marginal groups of Saransk. Most of them have secondary vocational education, many are graduates of orphanages after, there are people with disabilities. Not all are on equal financial terms, there are those who receive old-age or disability pension and earn by begging, most do not have a permanent residence and livelihood, are often residents of the night stay homers.

marginal; marginality; cultural marginality; marginality of social role; structural marginality; marginal groups; social bottom; vagabonds; tramps; homeless people; beggars


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