Political tolerance in Eastern and Western Europe: Social and psychological roots

B. Todosijevic, Zsolt Enyedi

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperAcademic

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According to Sullivan et al.’s (Sullivan et al. 1979, 53-55, Sullivan et al. 1985) theory, social and psychological factors play different roles in political tolerance. Target-group selection is shaped by socio-demographic characteristics, since in this way people try to adjust themselves to their social environment. On the other side, the degree of tolerance is a function of personality and other psychological factors. The paper examines whether the causal model proposed by Sullivan and his co-workers is able to account for individual differences in the degree of political intolerance in Eastern and Western Europe. The main emphasis is on their hypothesis about different effects of socio-economic and psychological variables. The research is based on World Values Survey data, which include the so called ‘least liked’ method to operationalize political tolerance. The findings indicate that psychological factors play an important role in the choice of target group, and not only in determining the degree of intolerance, contrary to Sullivan et al., hypothesis. Socio-economic status variables displayed rather complex pattern of influence on political tolerance. In general, the findings suggest that intolerance of different groups is not uniformly related to social and psychological explanatory variables. Not only intolerance is pluralistic, but the mechanisms behind intolerance seem to be pluralistic too.
Original languageUndefined
Number of pages24
Publication statusPublished - 2008
EventISPP 31st Annual Scientific Meeting 2008 - Paris
Duration: 9 Jul 200812 Jul 2008


ConferenceISPP 31st Annual Scientific Meeting 2008
Other9-12 July 2008


  • IR-59160
  • Authoritarianism
  • social status
  • political tolerance
  • Europe

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