Toleration and Informal Groups. How Does the Formal Dimension Affect Groups’ Capacity to Tolerate?
European Journal of Political Theory, 12(3), 2013, pp. 288-305
27 Pages Posted: 17 Nov 2013
Date Written: March 1, 2012
The ‘agents’ of toleration can be divided into three categories: public institutions, groups and individuals. If it is mostly accepted that both public institutions and individuals are capable of toleration, it is not clear that such a capacity can be attributed to groups, although in daily discourse we seem ready to say that a certain social group is (in)tolerant. This paper aims to address this issue by investigating the relationship between collective agency and social groups. Formal groups (e.g. corporations) have internal rules and collectively recognised decision-making procedures that constitute a collective behaviour. However, it is not clear if and in what sense such a capacity is also upheld by informal groups. This article discusses some competing criteria to define informal groups and finally proposes the shared convictions criterion. In conclusion, this criterion is applied to toleration-related issues, so as to reconcile our ordinary understanding of groups’ toleration with a more technical analysis.
Keywords: collective agency, common intentionality, formal groups, informal groups, toleration
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