ACCEPT PLURALISM: A comparative overview of 15 European countries concerning Challenges to Tolerance in Political Life

December 29, 2012

A comparative overview report of 15 European countries concerning Challenges to Tolerance in Political Life was published within the ACCEPT PLURALISM project.

The studies carried out in the frame of ACCEPT PLURALISM empirically challenge the concept of tolerance and the three-class concept of toleration, non-toleration and respect. The aim was to examine in a particular social space such as politics how these concepts can contribute to the analysis of diversity, difference and majority/minority relationship in European societies.

The researches on tolerance and political life have stressed the diversity of the modalities of toleration. Toleration in the political life refers to a continuous tolerance boundary drawing activity which appears to be central in complex society’s assemblages. The different studies presented in this report bring empirical evidences about how boundary-drawing is realized in the public life. They provide a variety of answers to three core questions:

  • Who is entitled to tolerate or not-tolerate?
  • What is tolerable and what is not in a society?
  • How acceptance or objection is expressed and implemented?

The different research projects carried out within this work-package are based on country-specific case studies investigated with qualitative research methods. All the research projects are empirically grounded and they aim at challenging the concepts of tolerance. For the purpose of comparability, all research cases analyse how the dimensions presented above are embedded in the case study as well as in national (and European) public debates.

The national case studies selected by the different partners have been organized into three main clusters:

  • Cluster 1 is organised around the challenge of political discourses in relation with intolerance boundaries drawing activities.
  • Cluster 2 is organised around the challenge posed by public policies of exclusion. It focuses on the institutional obstacles opposed to the rights and admission as normal of minorities.
  • Cluster 3 is organised around quests for recognition and the political mobilisation of minorities. This cluster has been divided into two different chapters: one on the mobilization for recognition of native ethno-national minorities and one on a dialogue between the French and British experiences of Muslims organizations’ mobilisations.

The different country cases are thus displayed in this report along four thematic chapters. They aim at drawing comparisons and highlighting similarities and differences between country cases, in order to explore the way the national contexts challenge the concept of tolerance.

Challenges to Tolerance in Political Life: A comparative overview of 15 European countries (Download)