The TOLERACE project proposes a contextualised comparative analysis that focuses on the semantics and regimes of (anti-)racism and tolerance in different European contexts, exploring how they are shaped through the mediation of public institutions and policies at the European, national, regional and local level, and civil society organisations. We seek to explore how the different meanings given to tolerance and (anti-)racism are embedded in wider ideas and discourses on citizenship, more precisely in the (re-)definition of European identities in relation to current immigration policies and post-colonial situations.
Our hypothesis is that public policies do not sufficiently incorporate anti-racist measures, resulting in precarious modes of integration and making social structures vulnerable to racism. Additionally, we critically consider that de-historicised, dominant conceptions of racism (as a problem of extremist ideologies and their supporters and a well-bounded, localised phenomenon) are failing to address the relationship between nationality, racism and citizenship. Therefore, we propose an analysis that locates racism within a set of complex ways of belonging and of governing difference, and thus related to multiple forms of discrimination (such as religious and linguistic).
Three comparative analytical strategies will be followed: (i) Critical analysis of public policies and campaigns focused on the celebration of diversity and the promotion of anti-racism measures and tolerance, in relation to broader multicultural and/or intercultural political traditions; (ii) Empirical analysis of regional/local cases in each national context, as located in the socio-political spaces created by the interplay of (anti-)racism and (in-)tolerance, focusing on two life spheres – education and employment; (iii) The role of the media in the construction of public issues and in making visible racism as a key social problem, within each national/regional context.