In ACCEPT PLURALISM project’s first phase, the researchers examine the different conceptions of tolerance and how religious, ethnic and cultural diversity is treated in fourteen EU Member States and in Turkey. The researchers will review the policies and practices adopted so far in each country, the way in which these have evolved, the main cultural diversity challenges for each country’s dominant culture, and how they have been solved. During this phase the project will be presented to relevant stakeholders (European institutions, national and local policy makers, civil society actors) in national launch events where social and political actors working in the field of migrant and minority integration will be invited to present their best practices on accepting diversity and promoting social cohesion.
The second and main phase of the project involves two case studies to be conducted in each country, in two thematic areas: school life and politics. We shall identify challenging events that have caused conflict, discussion and in some cases a change of policy or practice. For conducting each of those case-studies the researchers will examine a wide range of secondary sources, such as statistics, media coverage, internet sources and blogs, political debates, parliamentary proceedings if relevant, policy consultations and other grey material, and of course relevant academic literature if available. In parallel and in simultaneous consultation of the above material, the national teams conduct interviews with social and policy actors involved in the selected challenging events in order to look at the ways in which those events were experienced and/or perceived by stakeholders involved and by interested citizens.
In addition, one discussion groupin each country will bring together academics, policy practitioners of different levels (e.g. educators, policy makers), NGOs, trade unions and possibly media professionals. The aim of these discussion groups will be to present preliminary findings and obtain criticism and feedback from user communities. The expectation is that the collected normative and empirical data will in the end enable ACCEPT PLURALISM partners to offer as accurate as possible a picture of the intricacies of the ethno-cultural and religious diversity but also the degrees and ways of its acceptance/refusal in the European context.
During the third phase, the findings of the first two phases are used to develop a set of Tolerance Indicators for measuring tolerance/acceptance/respect towards diversity in each country. Each country will be evaluated on the basis of these indicators. This will allow for comparing the different policies and practices in each country highlighting the best ones.