Edited by Yaojun Li
Chapter 6: Social capital and ethnic tolerance: the opposing effects of diversity and competition
The increasing multi-ethnic nature of immigration in most modern societies over the past few decades underscores the importance of studying not only the consequences of intolerance, such as labour market discrimination, but also the sources of interethnic tolerance (Wilson, 1996; Elliott and Smith, 2004; Smith and Edmonston, 1997; Putnam, 2007; Reitz, 1998; Van Tubergen et al., 2004). The present chapter explores the relationship between social capital and ethnic tolerance. By investigating the role of various types of social interaction, we shed new light on the social bases of tolerance towards immigrant and minority ethnic groups. Our research is driven by the generalized contact hypothesis, which holds that having diverse networks tends to enhance tolerance. We build on previous research by considering how diversity in a person’s wider social network – including strong ties, acquaintances and other forms of weak ties – affects tolerance. We are specifically concerned with the impact on tolerance of the size of the community in which people live, the occupational and racial diversity of social networks, and participation in various types of voluntary associations.
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