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Securing respectBehavioural expectations and anti-social behaviour in the UK$
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Andrew Millie

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9781847420947

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781847420947.001.0001

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Tolerance, respect and civility amid changing cities

Tolerance, respect and civility amid changing cities

(p.171) seven Tolerance, respect and civility amid changing cities
Securing respect

Jon Bannister

Ade Kearns

Policy Press

Britain has a reputation for toleration. In the first half of the twentieth century, tolerance was regarded as one of several British virtues, as seen from experience by foreigners. Inevitably, the culture of tolerance became one of Britain's hallmarks and identities. This culture has also seeped into government policies. Reputation and rhetoric, therefore, supported the notion that Britain is a tolerant place to live in. This chapter presents an image of Britain as a non-tolerant place as suggested by the realities of public opinion and public policy. It defines tolerance and specifies its relationship to civility and respect. Although it is argued that active engagement with others is an important foundation of tolerance, the chapter illustrates, however, that engagement and tolerance are less likely to arise as a result of the purified public realm, and that tolerance is very context specific. The chapter also discusses how a combination of global forces, which increased the need for tolerance and a public policy that highlighted ‘otherness’ and that seeks to support preference for privatism through an increasing regulation of ‘inappropriate behaviours’, one that serves to create a ‘cycle of intolerance’. The chapter concludes that the pursuance of a form of a cohesion that stresses conformity and consensus is counterproductive, as it serves to emphasise social inequality and to frame those inequality as undesirable and unacceptable, rather than to encourage tolerance.

Keywords:   toleration, tolerance, culture of tolerance, public opinion, public policy, civility, respect, engagement, cycle of intolerance

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