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Overcoming Intolerance in South Africa

Overcoming Intolerance in South Africa
Experiments in Democratic Persuasion

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Part of Cambridge Studies in Public Opinion and Political Psychology

  • Date Published: September 2002
  • availability: Available
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9780521813907

$ 93.00 (C)

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About the Authors
  • James L. Gibson and Amanda Gouws investigate the degree to which the political culture of South Africa and the beliefs, values, and attitudes of ordinary people affect democratic reform. One set of values is of particular concern for their research: political tolerance. Gibson and Gouws contend that political tolerance is a crucial element of democratic political cultures in general. And it is perhaps more important than any other democratic value in polyglot South Africa.

    • A systematic investigation of the post-transformation political culture of South Africa
    • Employs experiments - grounded in theories of political psyhology - in representative surveys of South Africans
    • Inquires into the dynamics of political tolerance - that is, the way in which political tolerance changes and can be changed
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    • Winner of the Alexander L. George book award (awarded by the International Society for Political Psychology) for the best book in the field of political psychology in 2003.

    Reviews & endorsements

    " excellent illustration of how good social science can contribute to theory, research, and our political understanding of politics and society." Contemporary Psychology

    "Gibson and Gouws have created a pathbreaking study of political tolerance in a new democracy. It offers both fresh findings and questions for tolerance research..." American Political Science Review

    "From time to time there are works that change how we ought to think about important problems...[this] is such a work." Paul M. Sniderman, Stanford University

    "Jim Gibson and Amanda Gouws have written...a courageous book...a creative, meticulous, and thoroughly honest depiction of the condition of mass political tolerance in South Africa..." Law and Politics

    "[E]xcellent survey.... Defining tolerance as 'putting up with that with which one disagrees ..., allowing one's political enemies to compete openly for political power,' the authors surveyed a stratified sample according to province, race, and community size of the country's mass political culture.... Recommended." Choice

    "South Africa's transition from repression to democracy has been hailed as a miracle because so many had expected a bloodbath. Still, the infant democracy is grappling with many and daunting problems, such as the existence cheek by jowl with one another of a diversity of political and other ideologies, ethnic and racial groups and nationalities, as well as the necessity of dealing with the inequitites of the past, and having to combat one of the highest levels of HIV / AIDS pandemic and a burgeoning crime rate. No wonder intolerance should have raised its ugly head in such fertile soil. And it is a very serious problem. This gronudbreaking study of the problem is timely in looking for solutions to what could so easily subvert what so many laboured so valiantly for and many others gave their lives. It is to be welcomed enthusiastically." Archbishop Desmond Tutu

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    Product details

    • Date Published: September 2002
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9780521813907
    • length: 280 pages
    • dimensions: 236 x 159 x 25 mm
    • weight: 0.539kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    List of tables and figures
    Part I. Introduction:
    1. Political tolerance in the New South Africa
    2. The South African context
    Part II. South African Intolerance as It Is:
    3. The nature of political intolerance in South Africa
    4. Social identities, threat perceptions and political intolerance
    5. Making tolerance judgements: the effect of context, local and national
    Part III. South African Intolerance as It Might Be:
    6. The persuasibility of tolerance and intolerance
    7. The law and legal institutions as agents of persuasion
    8. Becoming tolerant? Short-term changes in South African political culture
    9. Conclusions: experimenting with tolerance in the New South Africa
    Appendix: research design and methodology

  • Authors

    James L. Gibson, Washington University, St Louis
    James L. Gibson is Sidney W. Souers Professor of Government at Washington University in St. Louis. He has published four books and numerous articles on mass behavior and democratization in the United States, Europe, and Africa. He has recently held visiting research and teaching positions at the University of Stellenbosch (South Africa), the Institute for Social Justice and Reconciliation (South Africa), and the Russell Sage Foundation.

    Amanda Gouws, University of Stellenbosch, South Africa
    Amanda Gouws is Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Stellenbosch. She has been involved in numerous survey research projects in South Africa and has published academic articles on political tolerance, the electoral system, and gender politics in South Africa.


    • Winner of the Alexander L. George book award (awarded by the International Society for Political Psychology) for the best book in the field of political psychology in 2003.

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