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SFI involved in international research project on tolerance and discrimination in Europe


To what degree do European countries take measures against racial and ethnic discrimination? In collaboration with several international research institutions, SFI is exploring this and other questions in a research project – the TOLERACE project – funded by the 7th Framework Programme of the European Community.

SFI – The Danish National Centre for Social Research is part of an international comparative research project entitled “The Semantics of Tolerance and (anti)Racism in Europe: Public Bodies and Civil Society in a Comparative Perspective,” also called TOLERACE. This project is being funded by the 7th Framework Programme of the European Community and runs from March 2010 to February 2013. SFI is taking part in the project with research institutions from Portugal (project coordinator), Spain, the United Kingdom, and Germany. The SFI research team consists of researcher Tina Gudrun Jensen (coordinator), senior researcher Kathrine Vitus, research assistant Kristina Weibel and research assistant Mette Tørslev.

The hypothesis behind the TOLERACE project is that public policies do not sufficiently incorporate anti-racist measures, resulting in precarious modes of integration and in social structures that are vulnerable to racism. The TOLERACE project proposes a contextualised comparative analysis that focuses on the semantics of (anti-)racism and tolerance in different European contexts, exploring how they are shaped through the mediation of public institutions and policies at European, national, regional and local levels. The project explores how the various meanings ascribed to tolerance and (anti)racism are embedded in wider ideas and discourses on citizenship, and particularly the (re)definition of European identities in relation to current immigration policies and post-colonial situations.

Each participating research team is following three comparative analytical strategies:   

  • An analysis of public policies and campaigns focussing on the promotion of anti-racism measures and tolerance, in relation to broader multicultural and/or intercultural political traditions.  
  • An empirical analysis of regional/local cases in each national context, focusing on two life spheres: education and employment.  
  • An analysis of the role of the media in the construction of public issues and in making racism visible as a key social problem.

The TOLERACE project addresses a variety of agents such as national policymakers at public institutions, mediation agents networking at local and regional levels, European policymakers and policy-practitioners, European monitoring bodies, and the media. The expected results of the TOLERACE project are:  

  • A toolkit for the analysis of racism and related discrimination, as well as institutional responses, with emphasis on education and employment.  
  • An online database with representative mass-media coverage of selected cases in each European context.  
  • Scientific publications in national and international social science journals.  
  • Policy briefs emphasising key policy messages emerging from analyses of public policies as well as empirical case studies.  
  • Participatory workshops promoting discussions between state-endorsed institutions, civil society representatives and researchers, focusing on research findings and anti-discrimination measures proposed in public policies.

The TOLERACE project consists of in all eight work packages, coordinated by the participating countries, which will also host the annual international meetings. SFI will coordinate and host the final international workshop in the TOLERACE project on the future of integration and anti-racist policies. This workshop will include proposals emerging from the joint work of academics, policy makers and civil society representatives.

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