Political Tolerance in the Global South : Images of India, Pakistan and Uganda book cover
1st Edition

Political Tolerance in the Global South
Images of India, Pakistan and Uganda

ISBN 9780815366935
Published October 13, 2017 by Routledge
248 Pages

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Book Description

What makes people agree to the extension of political rights to those they clearly dislike? This book moves beyond the extensive research on this question in western contexts to focus on the global south, offering unique empirical studies of political tolerance in plural societies where poverty is prevalent and democratic institutions can often be fragile. Based on extensive data gathered in India, Pakistan and Uganda, this volume offers an account of the factors that shape the foundations of a society and its capacity to be democratic, but where the need for the protection of human rights is great and where the state is either weak or even constitutes a counter-force against the rights of individuals and groups.

Combining large scale survey data with in-depth interviews in each national setting, the author exemplifies the great variation of factors which are related to political tolerance, shedding light on the fundamental patterns existing in the organization of state-society relations and the ways in which they produce certain results owing to the manner in which the forces of modernization operate.

A broad and empirically informed study of what shapes the foundations of a democratic society in modernizing nations, Political Tolerance in the Global South will appeal to scholars of sociology and political science with interests in democracy, human rights, diversity and tolerance.

Table of Contents


1. Political tolerance in plural societies

2. Understanding paths to political tolerance in multicultural societies

3. Fragile modernization in liberal India

4. Political tolerance in multi-conflictual Pakistan

5. Political tolerance and one-party dominated Uganda





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Sten Widmalm is Professor in the Department of Government at Uppsala University, Sweden. He is the author of Decentralisation, Corruption and Social Capital: From India to the West and Kashmir in Comparative Perspective: Democracy and Violent Separatism in India.


‘Issues of freedom of speech, state surveillance and social tolerance have become increasingly vexed in both developed democracies and the global south. This work is therefore a timely contribution. The extensive survey material drawn from India, Pakistan and Uganda challenges a number of accepted insights into the conditions which encourage political tolerance.’ Ian Talbot, University of Southampton, UK

‘In Political Tolerance in the Global South: Images of India, Pakistan and Uganda, Sten Widmalm has provided much-needed and rarely available data on how people view the political "other" (...) However, you interpret the findings of the experiment mapped out in the book, it is valuable thinking and rare data on a subject that is of extreme interest to anybody interested in the flourishing or diminishing of democratic values, especially in the global south." Omair Ahmad, The Wire

‘Given the scope of the book, Widmalm has done a brilliant job in summarizing the overall results in a concise and uncomplicated way … The book demonstrates the necessity of expanding studies in political tolerance beyond the West.’ – Respons

‘This path-breaking book reconceptualises our understanding of political tolerance, as well as its foundations’ - Ananya Sharma, Asian Journal of Social Science