The 'agents' of toleration can be divided into three categories: public institutions, groups and individuals. If it is mostly accepted that both public institutions and individuals are capable of toleration, it is not clear that such a capacity can be attributed to groups, although in daily discourse we seem ready to say that a certain social group is (in)tolerant. This article aims to address this issue by investigating the relationship between collective agency and social groups. Formal groups (e.g. corporations) have internal rules and collectively recognized decision-making procedures that constitute a collective behaviour. However, it is not clear if and in what sense such a capacity is also upheld by informal groups. This article discusses some competing criteria to define informal groups and proposes the shared convictions criterion. In conclusion, this criterion is applied to toleration-related issues, so as to reconcile our ordinary understanding of groups' toleration with a more technical analysis. © The Author(s) 2013.
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