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Development of Tolerance across Life Span
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Sociology. Örebro University.
2018 (English)In: The SAGE Encyclopedia of Lifespan Human Development / [ed] M. H. Bornstein, Sage Publications, 2018, In pressChapter in book (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Tolerance Tolerance is commonly defined as putting up with ideas, persons, or practices that one disagrees with or dislikes. Theory and research have focused on one particular kind of tolerance, namely political tolerance, that concerns the willingness to extend civil liberties to disliked groups. Although difficult and complex, political tolerance has been considered a key to the sustenance of democratic and increasingly diverse societies. Knowledge of tolerance development and factors that influence this process is essential for fostering tolerance in societies. This entry summarizes key points in understanding tolerance and its development employing a scientific lifespan perspective. Conceptualization of Tolerance Several factors trouble understanding the nature and development of tolerance. First, tolerance has been conceptualized as putting up with ideas, persons, or practices that one disagrees with or dislikes, as the absence of prejudice, and as positive attitudes towards groups. These inconsistencies in conceptualization of tolerance make it difficult to integrate research findings. Second, the definition of tolerance as putting up with something that one dislikes implies that one can be both tolerant and prejudiced. However, research has often assumed that tolerance and prejudice are opposites and thus much of the knowledge of tolerance comes from studies on prejudice. This fact is problematic, as, although related, prejudice and tolerance seem to be separate constructs with distinct trajectories and antecedents. Further, the fact that tolerance is not by definition good, and intolerance is not by definition bad, adds to difficulties in understanding tolerance. Blanket tolerance may result in approval of harmful beliefs or in sustenance of an undesirable status quo. Tolerance is more context-dependent than previously assumed; that is, tolerance and intolerance may coexist in individuals hinging on what they are asked to tolerate. Finally, tolerance has often been operationalized as support for the principle of tolerance rather than practice. Yet, there is a discrepancy between endorsing tolerance as an abstract ideal and applying it in practice, as to disliked groups. In result, our understanding of tolerant behavior is limited. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Sage Publications, 2018, In press.
National Category
Sociology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-137074OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-137074DiVA: diva2:1114942
Available from: 2017-06-26 Created: 2017-06-26 Last updated: 2017-06-26

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CiteExportLink to record
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Citation style
  • apa
  • ieee
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  • Other style
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