Diversity and Equality: ‘Toleration as Recognition’ Reconsidered

  • Andrea Baumeister
Part of the Studies in Global Justice book series (JUST, volume 7)


While toleration is widely considered a fundamental political principle in liberal societies, for critics of traditional conceptions of this principle, such as Anna Elisabetta Galeotti, the idea of toleration as non-interference is increasingly unsuited to respond to the type of pluralism characteristic of these societies. For Galeotti, the most important cases of toleration in contemporary liberal societies arise not due to the plurality of individual values and beliefs, but stem from the coexistence of diverse groups and cultures with unequal standing. When socially despised groups seek to exhibit their differences in the public sphere in an attempt to secure equal social standing and respect, Galeotti proposes a positive form of ‘toleration as recognition’. This paper argues that, while Galeotti’s analysis offers a powerful critique of conceptions of pluralism that seek to confine difference and diversity to the non-political private sphere, her notion of ‘toleration as recognition’ ultimately fails to provide an adequate response to the complex issues of power and identity central to her critique of traditional conceptions of toleration. For, not only does her conception of ‘toleration as recognition’ remain ambiguous, but Galeotti pays insufficient attention to the social and political processes that shape the very identities that are to be recognised.


Powerful Critique Collective Identity Muslim Woman Public Realm Minority Identity 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of StirlingStirlingUK

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