“Centers and peripheries do not simply exist, they are made”
The concept of peripheralization relies on the central geographical dichotomy, which opposes centers to peripheries. By emphasizing the socially constructed nature of core-periphery relations, it shifts the focus to the production of this socio-spatial hierarchy by which peripheries become framed as being “situated at the fringes” and at “distance to the center” (Kühn 2014). Drawing on theories of economic polarization, social inequality and (access to) political power, peripheralization moves away from fixed categories in space to the dynamics of their emergence.
Kühn (2015), Fischer-Tahir & Naumann (2013) and Lang et al. (2015) referring to Keim (2001) define peripheralization as relational, multi-scalar and multi-dimensional polarization process. Hence, the making of peripheries is conceptualized as result of economic, political, social and communicative processes (cf. territorial stigmatization) on and between different scales and types of space. Moreover, peripheralization and centralization are seen as contingent processes, as conditional for one another. Despite their relative durability, they are temporal and therefore reversible (cf. coping strategies). Consequently, the peripheralization concept opens our analysis to the emergence, (re-)production and persistence of core-periphery relations.