The Reasonable Accommodation of Minorities: Lessons from Canada



Researchers: Mathias Thaler (Principal Investigator); Roberto Merrill; Mihaela Mihai; João Cardoso Rosas; Daniel Weinstock;


Funding: International Council for Canadian Studies (Canada), Theodor Körner Fonds (Austria     


Partner Institutions: Centre de Recherche en Éthique de l’Université de Montreal, Centro de Estudos Humanísticos (Universidade do Minho)


Duration: 12 months, beginning in May 2010 


Keywords: Bouchard/Taylor commission, cultural and religious diversity; Canada; Europe;


Abstract: This project attempts to contribute to our understanding of the relations between Canada and Europe by investigating the way in which the Bouchard/Taylor commission (2007-2008) on “Accommodation Practices Related to Cultural Differences” grappled with the challenge of cultural and religious diversity in the province of Québec. Our hypothesis says that Europe’s engagement with cultural and religious diversity can be beneficially informed by a close reading of the commission’s report. This hypothesis is based on the fact that the authors of the report explore a novel type of “open secularism” and draw upon a culture of compromise. This approach might help us move beyond the unproductive opposition between religion and democracy that characterizes a plethora of European policies. Therefore, an investigation into the context and the results of the commission’s recommendations appears to be crucial for evaluating the model’s potential for Europe.






Associated Project:



TOLERACE: The semantics of tolerance and (anti-)racism in Europe: public bodies and civil society in comparative perspective



Researchers: Boaventura de Sousa Santos, Silvia R. Maeso, Marta Araújo, Clemens Zobel, Maria Paula Meneses(CES). Tina Gundrun Jensen (SFI), Frank Peter (EUV), Gabriel Gatti(UPV), Ángeles Castaño (US), Salman Sayyid (CERS-Leeds), Olivier Guiot


Funding: 7th Framework Programme of the European Union


Duration: 36 months


Starting date: March 1, 2010


Keywords: (Anti-)racism, tolerance, integration policies, research in action;


Abstract: The TOLERACE project proposes a comparative analysis that focuses on the meanings of (anti-)racism and tolerance in different European contexts, exploring how they are shaped through the mediation of civil society organisations and public institutions and policies (at the European, national, regional and local level). Our working hypothesis is that public policies in Europe do not adequately take into account racism, resulting in precarious anti-racist measures and thus failing to question current approaches to integration and to challenge discriminatory social structures. We anticipate that this is related to the increasing relevance of the idea of tolerance in public political cultures and the prevalence of dominant conceptions of racism operated by public bodies and local mediation agents.



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