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:
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.