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How tolerant is EU tolerance?

Professor Frank FurediProfessor Frank Furedi to question EU tolerance at Brussels School of International Studies lecture.

Sociologist and social commentator Professor Frank Furedi will give a special lecture at the University of Kent's Brussels School of International Studies (BSIS) on Wednesday 7 March.

Titled 'How tolerant is EU tolerance?', the lecture will be based on his recent book On Tolerance: A Defence of Moral Independence (Continuum). The lecture will take place at 1pm in the BSIS centre at Boulevard de la Plaine 5, 1050 Brussels. Journalists are welcome to attend.

In On Tolerance, Professor Furedi argues that despite the democratisation of public life and the expansion of freedom, society is dominated by a culture that not only tolerates but often encourages intolerance.

'Policy makers casually demand "zero-tolerance" and often intolerance is directed at people who refuse to accept the conventional wisdom,’ he says. ‘Frequently intolerance comes into its own in clashes over cultural values and lifestyles.'

Professor Furedi claims that one source of this problem in the EU is the confusion of tolerance with non-judgmentalism - confusion 'that has fostered a climate that often avoids an open debate on difficult and controversial issues.'

Frank Furedi is Emeritus Professor of Sociology at the School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research, University of Kent. During the past decade his research has been oriented towards the way that risk and uncertainty is managed by contemporary culture. He has published widely about controversies surrounding issues such as health, children, food and new technology. His Therapy Culture: Cultivating Vulnerability in an Uncertain Age (2004) explores the ascendancy of the therapeutic imagination. It develops the arguments contained in two previous books The Culture of Fear (2003) and Paranoid Parenting (2001).

In recent years, Professor Furedi has been exploring the way that fear has come to dominate public discussions in Western societies. His Politics of Fear: Beyond Left and Right, published in September 2005, explores the crisis of meaning afflicting the West. Invitation To Terror: The Expanding Empire of the Unknown (Continuum Press) was published in 2008. In 2009, he questioned the way society educates children and young people in Wasted: Why Education Isn't Educating.

Professor Furedi regularly comments for radio and television.

For further information or to reserve a place at his lecture, please contact BSIS at


Story published at 12:15pm 7 March 2012

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Last Updated: 15/11/2013