Multiculturalism and Toleration

Sune Lægaard*

*Corresponding author

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Multiculturalism has two main meanings. One is the descriptive fact of cultural, ethnic, and religious diversity within a society, the other is a set of normative claims that the state should recognize, respect, and accommodate such diversity. Toleration is classically understood as the relation between two agents where one objects to something about the other, has the power to interfere with the other, but refrains from doing so. Multiculturalism and toleration thus both concern cases involving differences. Nevertheless, multiculturalism and toleration involve quite different attitudes to differences. Where toleration is concerned with differences toward which someone has a negative attitude, multiculturalism in the normative sense prescribes a positive attitude to differences. Furthermore, multiculturalism as a set of policies is often formulated and motivated in contrast to policies of toleration. According to many proponents of multiculturalism, toleration is not enough and might even be part of a problematic and unjust way of handling differences. Multiculturalism therefore often demands that states move “beyond” toleration, i.e., from a negative to a positive attitude and from non-interference to active support and accommodation. The chapter analyzes the relation between multiculturalism and toleration. It distinguishes between claims of toleration and multiculturalism at the state level and the citizen level, respectively, which makes clear that toleration and multiculturalism might in fact be compatible in several respects.
TitelThe Palgrave Handbook of Toleration
Antal sider21
ForlagPalgrave Macmillan
ISBN (Trykt)9783030421205
ISBN (Elektronisk)9783030421212
StatusUdgivet - 2022

Bibliografisk note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2022.


  • Acceptance
  • Accommodation
  • Difference
  • Diversity
  • Equality
  • Minority
  • Multiculturalism
  • Objection
  • Power
  • Recognition
  • Respect
  • Tolerance
  • Toleration

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