Trust Under Conditions of Extreme Risk: Exploring Trust Networks of Clandestine Activities

Wednesday, July 16, 2014: 8:30 AM
Room: Booth 69
Oral Presentation
Aine RAMONAITE , Vilnius University, Vilnius, Lithuania
Trust is important in all types of social relations, but its role is crucial in secret activities of clandestine organizations operating under conditions of extreme risk. The paper explores the sources of trust in secret activities of underground publications (so called samizdat) of Soviet Lithuania. Samizdat was one of the most persecuted means of oppositional activity in post-Stalinist Soviet Union. Therefore, building a network of samizdat publication and distribution required extremely high level of trust among collaborators.

What are the sources of trust in a situation when a correct judgement on trustworthiness of a person is a question of life-and-death? Using social network analysis, the paper explores the trust networks of several samizdat publications in soviet Lithuania, including the most successful underground publication in the Soviet Union, ‘The Chronicle of the Catholic Church of Lithuania’ which was continuously published from 1972 until the breakdown of the regime in 1989. The data is drawn from face-to-face interviews with the main publishers of the selected publications. The results of the research refute the claim of the theory of secret societies that to solve the problem of trust clandestine networks are built on pre-existing strong ties among collaborators.