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Creating more tolerant and respectful societies

Researchers examined issues of conflict around the accommodation of minorities in the public space by looking into policy approaches in various countries.


Tolerance of different cultures and beliefs is a cornerstone of European democracies. However, conflicts often occur when policies based on the tolerance of minority groups are put into practice. This is especially true regarding policies for the allocation of public space — for instance, when allocating space for Roma sites, the building of mosques, or housing migrants. Such situations can provoke social tension and further marginalisation of minorities. An EU-funded research project, RESPECT, investigated how to limit such conflicts by examining policy approaches, and their underlying ideals, in different countries. The project included three main groups of case studies. The first involved the allocation of space to build places of worship, notably mosques, in Cyprus, Denmark, Germany, Israel, Italy, and Slovenia. The second concerned the provision of sites for, and the related marginalisation of, Roma in the Czech Republic, France, Italy, Lithuania, Hungary, and the United Kingdom. Finally, the researchers looked at policies for urban regeneration in areas inhabited by immigrants in the Czech Republic, Germany, Israel, Italy, Lithuania, and Russia. The project involved research institutes from different EU and extra-EU countries and combined various academic disciplines including politics, philosophy, sociology, social anthropology, and urban affairs. RESPECT published a series of articles in academic journals and local newspapers, as well as policy papers that have greatly advanced work in this field. These should spur new approaches to deal with this issue of growing importance and help lead to more cohesive and inclusive societies.

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