This paper introduces the key concepts and focus of a special issue of Development Southern Africa on the social dynamics of economic marginalisation. It emphasises the importance of the rise of 'second economy' discourse in South Africa, but warns against its implicit dualism: persistent poverty can flow not simply from disconnection but also from adverse incorporation. The contributions collected in this special issue highlight the diversity of ways the poor may be connected, disconnected or incorporated. The paper considers these ways and distinguishes between a number of different concepts of marginality. It also argues that the case studies presented in these papers show that policy-makers should beware of nave or overly optimistic assumptions about the benefits of 'integrating' poor people into broader economic systems within which they have little leverage.
Development Southern Africa (2008) 25 (2) 135-150 [DOI: 10.1080/03768350802090493]