Tolerance in Challenging Political Environments in Uganda, Kenya, India and Pakistan


  • Sten Widmalm
  • Sven Oskarsson
  • Karolina Hulterström


This is a study of political tolerance in India, Pakistan, Kenya, and Uganda. The project will focus on tolerance of the kind we associate with civil liberties and rights – liberties and rights that from a democratic perspective should belong to all citizens irrespective of race or ethnicity, gender, class, or, most important, opinion. We will consider the value which citizens place upon these liberties and what explains the variation in citizens’ levels of political tolerance. By means of surveys and in-depth interviews in all four countries, which vary in type of regime on a scale ranging from “democratic” to ”very weak democratic”, the project will test a set of hypotheses relating mainly to civil society, gender, type of regime, quality of governance, ethnic pluralism, and socioeconomic conditions. In particular, the project aims at investigating the possible influence of institutional factors and cultural values and traditions. The aim is to test the idea that state institutions that provide services (e.g. health services, education, judicial support) according to universalistic principles always contribute to political tolerance (measured as the support for the freedom of expression) no matter how plagued the cultural and political context may be with regard to lack of trust, ethnic divides, and socioeconomic inequalities.




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