Close Countries involved:

Italy                       Hungary
France                    Lithuania
Germany                Cyprus
UK                         Israel
Denmark                China
Slovenia                 Russian Federation
Czech Republic
RESPECT Research Project

Towards a “Topography” of Tolerance and Equal Respect.
A comparative study of policies for the distribution of public spaces in culturally diverse societies.

Tolerance has been increasingly invoked as the inspiring ideal of a number of social policies in European democracies. Appeals to tolerance have animated especially the political debates on those policies addressed to accommodate minorities’ requests. Among such requests those for the allocation of public spaces have recently acquired pride of place in the political agendas of many European and extra-European countries (e.g. the allocation of space for Roma sites; Muslims’ requests to build places of worship and housing policies for migrants). Despite such a generalized political and societal relevance of the notion of tolerance, some problems may occur when policies inspired by it are implemented. In particular, the implementation of tolerance-inspired spatial policies may result in the marginalisation of differences and thus risk undermining social cohesion. What conception of tolerance may be invoked to limit such a risk?

To answer this question, we shall test the hypothesis that grounding tolerance on equal respect for persons may contribute to the development of spatial policies capable of resolving the tensions between tolerance and social cohesion in culturally diverse societies. In particular, the project pursues 4 objectives:

  1. to develop a conceptual taxonomy to clarify the relations between tolerance, respect and spatial issues;
  2. to study the ways in which appeals to tolerance have informed the development of spatial policies;
  3. to investigate the influence of cultural diversities on the interpretations of tolerance in different national contexts;
  4. to extrapolate from the above studies an overall view of the connections between tolerance and equal respect.

Our findings will be of interests to national CSOs, European, national, regional and municipal authorities, as well as to the international academic community engaged in the study of urban integration in different social, religious, cultural, and political contexts.

New working papers available

December 2011

The RESPECT Working Paper Series is available for download

Basic information

Project type:
Collaborative research project

Funding Scheme:
European Commission’s Seventh Framework Programme (SSH-2009-3.3.1)

Start date:
1st January 2010

End date:
31st December 2011

Institute for Advanced Study, Pavia

Grant Agreement no:

EU Contribution:
1,341,533.00 €

Cordis SSH :

The views expressed during the execution of the RESPECT project in whatever form and or by whatever medium are the sole responsibility of the authors. The European Union is not liable for any use that may be made of the information contained therein.