Date of Award

6-2008

Degree Name

Master of Arts

Department

Sociology

First Advisor

Dr. Vyacheslav Karpov

Second Advisor

Dr. Elena Lisovakaya

Third Advisor

Dr. David Hartmann

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Campus Only

Abstract

Many tolerance researchers suggest that political tolerance has increased considerably in America since the 1950s, while others suggest that trends of increasing tolerance may instead reflect the decline in relevance of many of the groups traditionally used in tolerance research. While most scholars agree that tolerant attitudes towards certain groups in American society have increased (i.e. domestic communists, atheists, homosexuals, etc.), there is some debate as to whether intolerance has been redirected towards other political groups or whether it has faded subsequent to the decline of communist influence and relevance. Data from a 2003 Student Opinion Survey at a public Midwest university (N= 1,650), and the General Social Surveys, 1972-2006 [Cumulative File], are assessed to illustrate the need for new measures of intolerance in political tolerance research, as well as to demonstrate the increasing relevance of intolerant attitudes toward Islamist radicals in the post September 11, 2001 era. Due to the religio-political nature of Islamist ideology, the current research also explores the influence of predominant religious and political orientations in America upon issues of tolerance for Islamists, and other groups, whose ideology inspires them to justify and support acts of violence and terrorism.

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