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A fringe is the outer edge or margin of something. In the context of society, it refers to people who exist outside of the normative way of thinking. In general, the people who are considered to be "on the fringe" have political, religious, scientific, or social views that are very different from the mainstream.

Political fringe[edit]

On the right, the fringe consists of fundamentalists, fascists, anarcho-capitalists, white supremacists, and other loons. On the left, it consists of revolutionary socialists and communists, especially in a Maoist or Stalinist form. Most conspiracy theorists of any political leanings are considered "fringe." In countries where these groups have a significant amount of support they stop being "fringe" and become "extremists." The term "lunatic fringe" has a tendency to be bandied about whenever mentioning a group one particularly does not care for.

Scientific fringe[edit]

There are two types of scientific fringe. The first is pseudoscience, which largely consists of ideas that are either discredited or not testable, and whose adherents do not subscribe to the scientific method; this is of no benefit to science. The second type of scientific fringe comprises ideas that are not accepted by the mainstream, but are testable, and have adherents who follow the scientific method and work to test and refine them. Such ideas may sometimes become accepted into the mainstream, but most of the time they are not; nevertheless, this type of fringe is scientific and can contribute to the field(s) in question. Of course, it can sometimes be difficult to distinguish the two types.Wikipedia

Other uses[edit]

  • A Fringe party is a political party or faction that only garners a small percent of the vote because of its extreme views.
  • The Edinburgh Fringe - a series of artistic events in August in the Scottish capital (which may or may not involve an influx of midges).

See also[edit]