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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2021

Peripheries within economic geography: Four "problems" and the road ahead of us

Pugh, Rhiannon; Dubois, Alexandre


This paper is a theoretical contribution to interrogate and elucidate a term commonly used (but rarely inter-rogated) from the perspective of the economic geography field within which we work: peripheries. As researchers of "peripheries" we are all too familiar with the fuzziness and problematic nature of this term, and our long-standing research agenda is to work towards clarifying and nuancing it, addressing its role in either stigma-tizing or assuming some predetermined destiny for different regions and territories. This paper reviews the work conducted on peripheries within economic geography, and identifies a number of gaps or problems in the way in which this term is used. The paper proposes a way forwards for addressing these problems, in a series of "suggestions" as to how we can do better in researching economic geographies of peripheries. The final dis-cussion reorients our debate towards possible avenues for the research community to anchor peripheries in theoretical advancements and a more systemic approach to empirical investigations. Finally, this paper proposes a holistic framework for studying peripheries in economic geography, which take into account environmental, socio-cultural, and political elements as well as pure economic issues.


Periphery; Innovation; Entrepreneurship; Regional policy; Place-based development

Published in

Journal of Rural Studies
2021, volume: 87, pages: 267-275

Authors' information

Pugh, Rhiannon
Lund University
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Urban and Rural Development

Sustainable Development Goals

SDG9 Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation
SDG8 Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all

UKÄ Subject classification

Economic Geography

Publication Identifiers


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