The first usage of the word multicultural in 1935 articulated tensions about belonging and alienation, which still resonate today. In “The Problem of the Marginal Man” (1935), Everett V. Stonequist engages with Robert E. Park’s notion of the “marginal man,” a figure Park defined in “Human Migration and the Marginal Man” (1928). Park describes this figure as one who is “living and sharing intimately in the cultural traditions of two distinct peoples, never quite willing to break, even if he were permitted to do so, with his past and his traditions, and not quite accepted, because of racial prejudice, in the new society in which he now seeks to find a place” (892). Stonequist expands Park’s definition to claim, “The marginal man arises in a bi-cultural or multi-cultural situation” (1935, 1). Park and Stonequist identify key issues that continue to inform debates about multiculturalism, in particular the marginalization and prejudice that can occur when different cultural groups live in proximity to one another.

This essay may be found on page 126 of the printed volume.

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