On Tolerance: The Life Style Wars: A Defence of Moral Independence by Frank Furedi
|On Tolerance: The Life Style Wars: A Defence of Moral Independence by Frank Furedi|
|Category: Politics and Society|
|Reviewer: Louise Laurie|
|Summary: An academic and scholarly study of tolerance. What is it exactly - should we strive to attain it and is it pertinent in the 21st century?|
|Buy? Maybe||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 224||Date: August 2011|
|External links: Author's website|
Furedi is a Professor of Sociology at a UK university so he'll know his subject matter inside out. The short preface tells us that tolerance has been emptied of its moral and intellectual meaning. This publication's aim is to argue the case for tolerance in society. How its meaning has changed over the centuries until today's rather fuzzy and watered-down meaning. Professor Furedi was spurred on to writing this book because he firmly believes that tolerance has been lost somehow, to be almost invisible in some areas of public and private life.
But the line that I really liked was This book is directed towards people who are genuinely open-minded ... So, readers, you have been warned ... The word itself: tolerance - is not be confused with say, indifference or those of us who turn the other cheek when presented with something unusual or uncomfortable to us. The fairly lengthy introduction is all about Clarifying the Issues and I think that's just as well. Many of us will want to start with a basic definition of what this word actually means. A word that we sort of know but when asked to explain or give an example of, perhaps we get stumped.
Furedi gives his readers an in-depth analysis and (hopefully) ultimate understanding of all things on the tolerance radar. I have an interest in the subject and I think that this book will be enjoyed by those with perhaps more than a passing interest, shall we say. I only say this because every paragraph here is heavy with academic text, copious notes at the end of each chapter and culminating in an extremely comprehensive bibliography. I would say that Furedi's style is straightforward. It is not bright and breezy, there are no in-house jokes to relieve the academic text. This publication would not be out of place on a university's recommended reading list (if not there already).
To engage with the reader Furedi gives a few examples which many of us can relate to. Due to coverage on the television or in newspapers - sticky and tricky situations involving employing gay people in the armed forces or the right to wear the burka wherever and whenever a woman chooses.
Furedi warms to his subject and takes us back to the 17th and 18th centuries where he spends some time telling us what tolerance meant to citizens in the era of the Enlightenment. He then moves on to the thorny subject of religion and the tolerance/intolerance of the whole Catholic-Protestant situation (which is still with us today in some parts of the UK).
In case we are in any doubt, Furedi also explains meticulously what tolerance is not. I appreciated that particular angle and it was very effective as a form of argument, I must say. It made me sit up and take due notice. We cross the Atlantic and spend some time on the American meaning of tolerance. Apparently the phrase Thou shalt not judge is now the eleventh commandment of middle-class Americans. Interesting. But are they any more tolerant than say, the British? And of course the phrase that comes up time and time again is Zero Tolerance much used by politicians, companies, local councils, colleges for example.
To underline the scholarly feel of this publication other chapters deal with The Fossilization of Identity, The Expansion of the Meaning of Harm and concludes with Why Tolerance Matters. Perhaps readers (myself included) will end up with the statement Why tolerance matters - to me and perhaps Furedi will then think - job done.
I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to the Bookbag.
If this book appeals then you might like to try Culture Of Fear also by Frank Furedi.
You can read more book reviews or buy On Tolerance: The Life Style Wars: A Defence of Moral Independence by Frank Furedi at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy On Tolerance: The Life Style Wars: A Defence of Moral Independence by Frank Furedi at Amazon.com.
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