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Marginalized Populations

  • By: Gust A. Yep & Ryan Lescure
  • In: Encyclopedia of Health Communication
  • Edited by: Teresa L. Thompson
  • Subject:Public Health Education & Health Promotion, Health Psychology, Health Communication

The term marginalized populations generally refers to individuals, social groups, and communities that a particular society, at a given time, considers less valuable, worthy, and consequential. Their voices, experiences, lives, and realities might be ignored, trivialized, and rendered invisible, unheard, and even threatening to mainstream society. Through symbolic (e.g., language) and material (e.g., social policy) processes of marginalization, they are denied full access, privileges, rights, humanity, and power in a social and political system.

These populations are marginalized simultaneously at both microscopic (e.g., interpersonal) and macroscopic (e.g., social institutions) levels on the basis of race, class, gender, sexuality, ability, age, nation, and religion, among other factors. These factors tend to operate together—or inter-sectionally—in any given situation to produce specific patterns of disenfranchisement, stigmatization, health disparities, and ...

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