In recent times, Europe has experienced increasing tensions between national majorities and ethnic or religious minorities, more particularly with marginalised Muslim communities. In some countries challenges relate more to immigrant groups while in other countries they refer to native minority claims. It is in this geopolitical context that the ACCEPT project responds to Topic 3.3.1 and notably in the quest for investigating whether European societies have become more or less tolerant during the past 20 years and in the necessity to clarify: (a) how is tolerance defined conceptually, (b) how it is codified in norms, institutional arrangements, public policies but also social practices, (c) how tolerance can be measured and how the degree of tolerance of a society across time or of several countries at the same time can be compared (whose tolerance, who is tolerated, and what if degrees of tolerance vary with reference to different minority groups). The project starts from a distinction between liberal tolerance (not interfering with practices or forms of life of a person even if one disapproves of them) and egalitarian tolerance referring to institutional arrangements and public policies that fight negative stereotyping, promote positive inclusive identities and re-organise the public space in ways that accommodate diversity. It reviews critically past empirical research and the scholarly theoretical literature on the topic. It conducts original empirical research on key events of national and European relevance that thematise different understandings and practices of tolerance. Bringing together empirical and theoretical findings, ACCEPT generates a State of the Art on Tolerance and Cultural Diversity in Europe targeting policy makers, NGOs and practitioners, a Handbook on Ideas of Tolerance and Cultural Diversity in Europe aimed to be used at upper high school level and with local/national policy makers, a Tolerance Indicators’ Toolkit where qualitative and quantitative indicators may be used to score each country’s performance on tolerating cultural diversity. These indicators will inform the evaluation and development of public policies in this area. Last but not least the ACCEPT project will produce a book manuscript on Tolerance, Pluralism and Cultural Diversity in Europe. The project includes direct communication and feedback mechanisms with civil society, political and media actors for the dissemination and exploitation of its findings.
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