The ACCEPT PLURALISM project addresses the need to explore and understand tolerance of ethnic, racial and religious diversity in European societies and seeks to identify key messages for policymakers.

In particular the project analyses:

» What kinds of tolerance exist in practice in 15 EU Member States and one accession country.
» What tolerance means. What is the relationship between concepts such as multiculturalism, liberalism, pluralism, and national heritage?
» >What kind of conflicts arise in European societies with regard to ethnic and religious diversity. What views and practices are?and are not?tolerated, accepted and respected.
» What kind of institutional arrangements have been put forth by different actors when there is a conflict. How successful they have been.
» What kind of policies and practices need to be developed for European societies to become more respectful of cultural diversity.

Based on this analysis the project will produce key messages for European and national policymakers, civil society, and minority groups.


Recently, 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 involve native minority claims. It is in this geopolitical context that the ACCEPT project joins the quest to investigate whether European societies have become more or less tolerant during the past 20 years.

The project critically reviews past empirical research and the scholarly theoretical literature on the topic. In addition, we conduct original empirical work in 2 research and policy areas:

 » School life (language, dress and behaviour of students; content such as teaching history; structure of education system).
» Politics (special representation of minority groups; (il)liberal claims made by minority groups; transnational political participation).

The project ACCEPT PLURALISM covers a wide range of European countries:

 » Western European states with a long experience in receiving and incorporating immigrant minorities: Denmark, France, Germany, Netherlands, Sweden, UK.
» "New" migrant host countries: Greece, Italy, Spain, Cyprus and Ireland.
» Central European countries that have recently joined the EU: Bulgaria, Romania, Poland, Hungary, and Turkey, an associated state, all countries that mostly experience emigration rather than immigration but are also characterised by a significant variety of native minority populations.

The ACCEPT PLURALISM consortium includes 15 universities and research centres and 3 non-governmental organisations from across the European Union and Turkey.

Each country team identifies in each of the above research and policy areas key events of national or European relevance that exemplify different understandings and practices of tolerance.

We examine individuals, groups or practices:

 » For whom tolerance is sought but which we should not tolerate.
» That we disapprove of but which should be tolerated.
» For which we ask to go beyond toleration and achieve respect and recognition.

In particular, in each country we investigate:

 » When and whom is being tolerated / not tolerated/respected.
» The reasons that different social actors put forward for tolerating / not tolerating/respecting specific minority groups/individuals and specific practices.

Project Coordinator: Prof. Anna Triandafyllidou, Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies, European University Institute, Florence
Project Partners:
Prof. Tariq Modood, Dr Jon Fox, Centre for the Study of Ethnicity and Citizenship, University of Bristol
Prof. Maurizio Ambrosini, department of Social and Political Studies, University of Milan
Prof. Ricard Zapata-Barrero, GRITIM, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona
Mr. Marko Hajdinjak, International Centre for Minority Studies and Intercultural Relations (IMIR), Sofia
Prof. Ayhan Kaya, Bilgi University, Istanbul
Prof. Riva Kastoryano, Fondation Nationale des Sciences Politiques, Paris
Prof. Veit Bader, Institute of Migration and Ethnic Studies (IMES), University of Amsterdam
Prof. Hans Ingvar Roth, Lund University
Prof. Werner Schiffauer, European University Viadrina, Frankfurt a.O.
Prof. Iseult Honohan, University College Dublin
Prof. Michal Buchowski, Department of Ethnology and Cultural Anthropology, Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznan
Prof. Per Mouritsen, department of Political Science, Aarhus University
Prof. Alina Mungiu Pippidi, Romanian Academic Society (SAR), Bucharest
Ms. Doris Peschke, Churches' Commission for Migrants in Europe (CCME), Brussels
Ms. Josie Christodoulou, The Mediterranean Institute of Gender Studies, Nicosia
Ms Sarah Levin, Banlieues d' Europe, Lyon
Ms Violetta Zentai, Central European University, Budapest

Project type: Collaborative research project (call SSH-2009-3.3.1 "Tolerance and cultural diversity")
Project Code: SSH-CT-2010-243837
Project duration: 39 months (1st March 2010 - 30 May 2013)
EU contribution: 2,600,230 Euro
EU contact: Louisa Anastopoulou -
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