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Title:A study of political tolerance in the context of South Africa
Author(s):Gouws, Amanda
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Kuklinski, James H.
Department / Program:Political Science
Discipline:Political Science
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Psychology, Social
Political Science, General
Abstract:This study measures levels of political tolerance and degrees of consensus on democratic norms in the South African context. Tolerance is the willingness to put up with opposition. It implies procedural fairness--a commitment to the rules of the game and a willingness to apply them equally. The argument is made that models of democracy should be congruent with existing levels of tolerance in a society. As South Africa is a transitional society, political leaders should take into account the empirical reality of existing levels of tolerance when choosing a specific democratic model.
The levels of political tolerance of a regionally stratified random sample of 270 white and 270 black South Africans were measured. The results revealed very high levels of intense intolerance that were distributed widely across the political spectrum. In other societies where high levels of intolerance exist repressive policies are usually a consequence. In South Africa one consequence is the legitimation of violence through which political opponents are killed because the institutional channels which are supposed to deal with grievances are nonexistent or illegitimate. The consequences of intolerance for the process of democratization are examined.
This study also reveals that civil liberties as procedural norms do not take priority over other procedural norms. Indeed South Africans give them very low priority when they are traded-off against substantive rights and capitalist values.
Given these results, it is argued that a federal system would be best suitable to deal with the high levels of intense intolerance as well as the lack of consensus on democratic norms in South Africa. A federal system that embodies a Bill of Rights can eventually bring about the needed consensus out of which more political tolerance may develop.
Issue Date:1992
Rights Information:Copyright 1992 Gouws, Amanda
Date Available in IDEALS:2011-05-07
Identifier in Online Catalog:AAI9236473
OCLC Identifier:(UMI)AAI9236473

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