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Intolerance today can be seen as the result of an increasingly complex world in which the concept of the “fellow creature” has lost its weight, identity and meaning. Hence the sustained rise of racism, moreover instigated by the populist parties that are shredding democracies, and not only in Europe. The attempt to “understand the other” and to “comprehend the other” defended decades ago by philosopher Emanuel Levinas seems to have faded as a concept, so there is a need for a critique of the implications of an accelerating drift towards contempt for people from other countries and cultures. Only through a rigorous sociological analysis and renewed politics with ethics at their core can racial issues and growing speciesism be confronted.

Demographic changes, often caused by the poverty and violence experienced in many parts of the world, are shaping a new society that calls for maximum plurality and comprehension for coexistence to be viable. Such understanding is not possible without prior pedagogical work able to smooth out the inevitable culture clashes and provide an intelligent response to the migratory phenomenon that is currently occurring on a large scale.

Hate does not only come down to a racial issue, because it also extends, as everybody knows, to different ways of seeing sexuality and the personal choice of every citizen in this respect, i.e. the freedom to identify and choose one’s sexual orientation. Added to this is the worrying – and for the moment unstoppable – social inequality which, under an increasingly out of control neo-liberal approach, is fostering the existence of what are euphemistically called “pockets of poverty”, with all the implications in terms of insecurity, especially obvious in the suburbs of big cities with entire populations of migrants.  

It is therefore a matter of achieving fairness and backing the defence of rights that are both essential and logical. These issues form the context for the proposed discourses against hate, the content of which is intended to analyse, and as far as possible reinforce, a critical vision that rejects the xenophobia, homophobia and economic inequality that have gained ground in democratic countries that currently seem immersed in the great paradox of a populist, antidemocratic influence. 

The authors taking part in the Encuentros are known for their solid intellectual approach and their ability to analyse the above phenomena. Distinguished by their firm commitment and backed by long careers, they represent a major force and a step towards tolerance.