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Enigmas of Intolerance: Fifty Years after Stouffer's Communism, Conformity, and Civil Liberties

  • James L. Gibson (a1)


Scholars seeking to understand the causes and consequences of political intolerance are now celebrating the fifty-year anniversary of Stouffer's pathbreaking research on intolerance and repression. Yet despite substantial advances in our understanding of intolerance, several major unanswered questions remain. The purpose of this article is to identify and discuss these tolerance enigmas, while proffering some ideas about how future research on intolerance might proceed. The article begins by documenting the significance of understanding intolerance and concludes with speculation about how resolving these enigmas might contribute to a more peaceful and democratic world.James L. Gibson is Sidney W. Souers Professor of Government in the Department of Political Science, Washington University in St. Louis and a Fellow at the Centre for Comparative and International Politics, Stellenbosch University, South Africa ( This is a revised version of the Alexander George Award Lecture, delivered at the International Society for Political Psychology Annual Conference, Eden Hall, Lund University, Lund, Sweden, July 15–18, 2004. The author is indebted to many for their comments and suggestions on earlier versions of this paper, including Dennis Chong, Jamie Druckman, Leonie Huddy, Jim Kuklinski, Marc Peffley, Brian Silver, and John Transue, and especially Stanley Feldman and Donald Green. He also appreciates the research assistance of Marc Hendershot. Support for the research on which this paper is based has been provided by the Weidenbaum Center on the Economy, Government, and Public Policy at Washington University in St. Louis, and Steven S. Smith in particular. This paper makes use of data collected from Russia with the support of the National Science Foundation (SBR-9423614 and SBR-9710137). The South African data were collected with support from NSF's Law and Social Sciences Program (SES 9906576). Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.



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Enigmas of Intolerance: Fifty Years after Stouffer's Communism, Conformity, and Civil Liberties

  • James L. Gibson (a1)


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