periferia / periphery

What is the periphery?

Periphery, as a political, economic, and social phenomenon, has been framed through world-system analysis that makes a direct reference to the world economy rooted in the capitalist mode of production. This view suggests the presence of a center (core, developed, industrialized part of the world) and marginal periphery (underdeveloped, poor, raw materials-exporting part of the world). In social terms, the “center – periphery” model suggests ways of interaction between them: the center is the place where decisions are made, the corresponding institutions and elites (establishment) operate, while at the periphery are territorial communities, the development of which depends on decisions made at the center. Often it represents a hierarchical structure specific for political, economic, and other forms of control and management – an influence directed along the trajectory from the Center to the Periphery.

Besides its strong link to economics and geopolitics, through the concept of the periphery, we can consider the processes occurring on the outskirts and in the border areas, which fall out of our sight. These peripheral processes with their own internal dynamics are often invisible and unrecognized, avoiding interpretation and being represented publicly. Taking this into account we could address the issue of representation by adopting a different point of view when looking at these processes in order to propose alternative models to the ones generated by the global hierarchical system of production.

The periphery can also be seen as a conservative, developing slowly and characterized by inertia space, which keeps traces of cultural traditions that got melted at the ”center” due to its intensity. From this perspective, it becomes vulnerable and easy to manipulate spot, while the need for its preservation emerges. 

The borderline state of the periphery can be understood as a borderland – a zone that merges with the ”other” unknown space, a place of diffusion (interpenetration), and interaction of elements from different systems.