Applied [email protected]: Questioning Tolerance

By October 25, 2013News
When are immigrant linguistic and cultural rights tolerable? (Source:

When are immigrant linguistic and cultural rights tolerable? (Source:

Applied Linguistics at Macquarie University presents

Questioning Tolerance: When Are Immigrant Linguistic and Cultural Rights Tolerable?

When: Friday, November 08, 12:00-1:00pm

Where: Macquarie University, E6A 102 Theatrette

Presenter: Professor François Grin, University of Geneva

Abstract: When the linguistic and cultural rights of immigrants are addressed in the perspective of policy analysis, the effectiveness of provisions that give substance to these rights (instead of normative considerations regarding the appropriateness of such rights) is a crucial aspect of public policy. Among the factors that influence the effectiveness of such provisions is the latter’s endorsement by members of the majority. A common assumption in this regard is that this will tend to be the case if the majority displays tolerant attitudes. However, closer examination of the concept of tolerance, as well as of the ways in which this concept is used in various disciplines, suggests that though necessary, it is not sufficient to map the sociological terrain on which majority-minority relations unfold. In this lecture, we begin by revisiting the received notion of tolerance and propose to combine it with the less usual notion of tolerability. After discussing the theoretical implications of this hypothesis, I present its operationalisation through a questionnaire taken by over 43,000 young Swiss men. Results using this data set confirms the existence of tolerability (as distinct from the traditional notion of tolerance), as a condition of toleration viewed as a social practice, and enables us to examine the dimensions in terms of which tolerability is structured.

About the presenter

After a PhD in economics in Geneva, François Grin has worked at the University of Montréal and the University of Washington (Seattle), and served as Deputy Director of the European Centre for Minority Issues (ECMI) in Flensburg (Germany), and later as Deputy Director of the Education Research Unit of the Geneva Department of Education. He is currently full Professor of Economics at the Faculty of Translation and Interpreting (FTI) at the University of Geneva, as well as visiting professor at the University of Lugano, where he teaches the management of linguistic and cultural diversity. He is currently on sabbatical leave in Australia, working on a language economics project in the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) Lands in South Australia, and visiting at the Graduate School of Education at the University of Melbourne.

François Grin has specialised in language economics, education economics, and policy evaluation in these areas, with particular emphasis on minority groups. He is the author of numerous publications, has carried out major projects for scientific research agencies and international organisations (Council of Europe, European Commission, World Bank Institute, Agence universitaire de la francophonie), and has advised various national and regional authorities on language and education policy issues. He is the current President of the Délégation à la langue française (DLF) for Switzerland.

Author Lg_on_the_move

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  • Sinjoro ENG

    Prof GRIN is famous for his Grin Report on the use of Esperanto.

  • It would be great if you had live streamings of all the fascinating events going on at Macquarie University! (or at least recordings of the talks)

  • Thanks, Mirona! Not this time round but we hope to resume livestreams next year 🙂

  • That’s great news, Ingrid!