Russell Hardin EDITOR
Copyright Date: 2004
Published by: Russell Sage Foundation
Pages: 344
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  • Book Info
    Book Description:

    If trust is sometimes the rational response in interpersonal relations, then it can also be rational to distrust. Indeed, distrust is the preferred response when it protects against harm-as when parents do not entrust the safety of their child to a disreputable caretaker. Liberal political theory was largely founded on distrust of government, and the assumption that government cannot and should not be trusted led the framers of the U.S. constitution to establish a set of institutions explicitly designed to limit government power.

    With contributions from political science, anthropology, economics, psychology, and philosophy,Distrustexamines the complex workings of trust and distrust in personal relationships, groups, and international settings. Edna Ullman-Margalit succinctly defines distrust as the negation of trust, and examines the neutral state between the two responses in interpersonal relations. As Margalit points out, people typically defer judgment-while remaining mildly wary of another's intentions-until specific grounds for trust or distrust become evident. In relations between nations, misplaced trust can lead to grievous harm, so nations may be inclined to act as though they distrust other nations more than they actually do. Editor Russell Hardin observes that the United States and the former Soviet Union secured a kind of institutionalized distrust-through the development of the nuclear deterrent system-that stabilized the relationship between the two countries for four decades. In another realm where distrust plays a prominent role, Margaret Levi, Matthew Moe, and Theresa Buckley show that since the National Labor Relations Board has not been able to overcome distrust between labor unions and employers, it strives to equalize the power held by each group in negotiations. Recapitulating liberal concerns about state power, Patrick Troy argues that citizen distrust keeps government regulation under scrutiny and is more beneficial to the public than unconditional trust.

    Despite the diversity of contexts examined, the contributors reach remarkably similar conclusions about the important role of trust and distrust in relations between individuals, nations, and citizens and their governments.Distrustmakes a significant contribution to the growing field of trust studies and provides a useful guide for further research.

    A Volume in the Russell Sage Foundation Series on Trust

    eISBN: 978-1-61044-269-5
    Subjects: Political Science, Sociology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Contributors
    (pp. ix-x)
    • Chapter 1 Distrust: Manifestations and Management
      (pp. 3-33)
      Russell Hardin

      Most of the contributions to this book assume, either explicitly or implicitly, that trust is cognitive, that it is de facto an assessment of the trustworthiness of the potentially trusted person or group or institution. If, on your own knowledge, I seem to be trust-worthy to some degree with respect to some matter, then you trust me with respect to that matter. Similarly, if I seem to be untrustworthy, then you distrust me. If trust has grounds of particular kinds, we may expect distrust to have correlative grounds. Moreover, distrust is, like trust, a three-part relation: A distrusts B with...

    • Chapter 2 Distrust: Prudent, If Not Always Wise
      (pp. 34-59)
      Deborah Welch Larson

      Distrust pervades ethnic wars, arms races, and enduring conflicts such as that in the Middle East. In 1955 President Dwight David Eisenhower commented to his advisers that he greatly regretted the deterioration of U.S.-Soviet relations in the postwar period. He felt that it was important to recognize “that in Moscow the Soviet version of events was put forth to their people and that in the United States the course of events was set forth as we saw them.” As a result, “many millions of people in both countries had developed a state of fear and distrust of each other.” Eisenhower...

    • Chapter 3 Trust, Distrust, and In Between
      (pp. 60-82)
      Edna Ullmann-Margalit

      The notion of trust has been the focus of intensive research in recent years. Given the negation relation between trust and distrust, a good understanding of distrust may be a useful way of shedding additional light, even if indirectly, on trust. In a similar vein, the attempts in psychoanalysis to understand the pathological mind have always been taken as contributing to a better understanding of normalcy, and a grasp of “politica negativa” as a necessary step on the way toward a more solid foundation of a positive political theory. If I want to know about the bright side of the...

    • Chapter 4 Trust, Distrust, and Power
      (pp. 85-105)
      Henry Farrell

      The so-called encapsulated-interest account of trust, developed by Russell Hardin and other interested scholars, draws together an important body of thought about trust and its meaning in social and personal relations. Trust, under this account, involves considered expectations about the interests of others to behave in a trust-worthy manner. Some scholars argue that trust of this sort is not trust at all. Laurence Becker (1996), for example, argues that “cognitive” trust, of the sort discussed in the encapsulated-interest account, is indistinguishable in the final analysis from knowledge and power. Becker oversimplifies considerably; it is clear that in many instances, neither...

    • Chapter 5 The Transaction Costs of Distrust: Labor and Management at the National Labor Relations Board
      (pp. 106-135)
      Margaret Levi, Matthew Moe and Theresa Buckley

      Distrust at the workplace between managers and workers and especially between employers and unions can reduce productivity and increase inefficiencies—as well as make the workplace an unappealing place to be. Distrust may be the problem, but trust is not always the solution (Levi 2000, 137, 152–53). In situations in which there are mutual advantages from cooperation but also the combination of conflicting interests and reasons to fear hostile behavior by the other, the rational baseline position is distrust, not trust. This is particularly the case where the parties or individuals each control resources on which the other depends,...

    • Chapter 6 Collective Paranoia: Distrust Between Social Groups
      (pp. 136-166)
      Roderick M. Kramer

      The study of intergroup relations, and intergroup conflict in particular, has occupied a prominent place in the social sciences for decades (see, for example, Brewer and Campbell 1976; Sherif et al. 1961; Worchel and Austin 1986). Although few social scientists would probably dispute the importance of trust and distrust as a factor in intergroup relations, surprisingly little systematic theory and research has been conducted on this topic (Brewer [1981] constitutes a notable exception in this regard). Accordingly, this chapter develops an original perspective on the origins and consequences of a deleterious form of distrust and suspicion I term “collective paranoia.”...

    • Chapter 7 Compensating for Distrust Among Kin
      (pp. 167-191)
      Margaret L. Brown

      In a 1973 study of “fictive kinship” among the Merina of Madagascar, Maurice Bloch compares labor exchanges among fictive kin with exchanges among “blood” kin. Contrary to his expectations, the Merina relied on fictive kin more often than on blood kin when seeking agricultural laborers. “‘Real’ kinsmen would always come,” a villager said, whereas “‘artificial’ kinsmen would only come if one kept up the typical kinship behaviour of repeated requests for help. If one did not do so these ‘artificial’ kinsmen would lapse” (Bloch 1973, 79). “Real” kin were reliable over the long term without needing to be called frequently...

    • Chapter 8 Deadly Distrust: Honor Killings and Swedish Multiculturalism
      (pp. 192-204)
      Unni Wikan

      Sweden is the most liberal of the Scandinavian countries in regard to immigrant groups. It is the only one that defines itself as multicultural in an ideological, not just a descriptive, sense.¹ Sweden pursues a politics of ethnic minority rights that grants some special privileges to immigrant groups so they can practice their own traditions. One example is a law that sets the minimum marital age at fifteen years for girls of non-Western immigrant background. For all others, the legal minimum age is eighteen years. “Immigrant background” may apply even when the girl is Swedish-born and a Swedish citizen. It...

    • Chapter 9 Distrust and the Development of Urban Regulations
      (pp. 207-232)
      Patrick Troy

      The history of regulations relating to urban development in New South Wales, Australia, is largely one of reaction to catastrophe, failure, political contention, and turmoil. The regulatory system presently in place was incrementally and progressively introduced following a sequence of catastrophes and failures to structures and buildings that collapsed or burned down and of epidemics that brought injury, and sickness, and death. Often, regulations were introduced partly as a “moral panic” response to an incident or series of incidents, spurred by public anger and concern at those catastrophes, failures, and epidemics.

      The regulations were designed to reduce the distrust or...

    • Chapter 10 Coping with Distrust in Emerging Russian Markets
      (pp. 233-248)
      Vadim Radaev

      The market is not confined to a set of transactions among anonymous actors, according to the new institutionalist theory and economic sociology. It is constituted by complex institutional arrangements that help market actors cope with uncertainty and opportunism. The market formation also includes elements of interpersonal trust and trust in institutions, which are necessary for stabilization of the market relationships.

      How do market actors decide to act if the level of trust is low? In what ways does distrust in business relations influence entrepreneurial strategies? What kinds of arrangements are created to enforce business contracts and develop trust among business...

    • Chapter 11 Distrust as a Trade Impediment: European Trade Policy Toward Nonmarket Economies
      (pp. 249-277)
      Cynthia M. Horne

      Distrust between potential trading partners can prevent the establishment of trading relations or decrease the flow of trade between existing trading partners. Distrust can impede the broadening and deepening of trade relations, even if institutional structures are in place to foster credible trade commitments.

      In its effects on trading relations, distrust is quite different from lack of trust. In trade, no partner is completely trustworthy. A belief that the other side has one’s best interests at heart is not necessary for the establishment of trading relations. Each party assumes that the other is acting in his or her own self-interest...

    • Chapter 12 Terrorism and Group-Generalized Distrust
      (pp. 278-297)
      Russell Hardin

      Terrorism raises two important issues in trust. First, obviously, is the problem of how terrorists can cooperate in extraordinary actions that put themselves at great risk. Second is the problem of how a society—even one with standard liberal protections of civil liberties—can avoid becoming the object of the pervasive distrust of those subcommunities, domestic and foreign, from which terrorists might come. The two problems interact in that the devices for securing cooperative commitments among potential terrorists run counter to the plausible visions of society that include strong protections of civil liberties. In these visions, civil liberties are needed...

    • Chapter 13 Corruption, Distrust, and the Deterioration of the Rule of Law
      (pp. 298-324)
      Gabriella R. Montinola

      When the U.S. Supreme Court ruled against a recount of the Florida ballots in the November 2000 presidential race, Albert Gore, the candidate who would have to concede defeat, and his close supporters accepted the decision calmly. Although there were street demonstrations for both candidates, they remained nonviolent. Nor were there serious attempts to destabilize the new administration.¹ When the Philippine Supreme Court issued a resolution effectively legitimating the impeachment of incumbent president Joseph Estrada in January 2001, the ousted president left the presidential palace only after military officers made clear their intention to support the new regime. A few...

  7. Index
    (pp. 325-334)