The normalization of intolerance: The 2019 presidential election in Indonesia

Risa J. Toha, Dimitar D. Gueorguiev, Aim Sinpeng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


The perceived social acceptability of intolerance is believed to drive individual intolerance, a process we refer to as normalization. Social intolerance can be particularly high during election campaigns, when divisive candidates are likely to disparage minorities and outgroups in their rhetoric. Despite the electoral connection, it remains unclear how normalization interacts with partisanship. Does normalization only affect supporters of intolerant candidates, or does normalization spread across the population—even among supporters of the opposition? Relatedly, are the targets of intolerance group-specific, or are all minorities and outgroups at risk? To address these questions, this paper draws on results from a survey experiment conducted during the 2019 Indonesian presidential election. Our findings suggest that normalization affects all voters, albeit in ways that reflect partisan affiliation and rhetoric, which has implications for the study of identity politicization and the conditions under which intolerance is likely to propagate.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number102391
JournalElectoral Studies
StatePublished - Dec 2021


  • Elections
  • Identity
  • Indonesia
  • Intolerance
  • Minorities
  • Politicization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Political Science and International Relations


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