Multileveled Uncertainty: Meso-micro Linkages between Trust and Confidence’

Saturday, July 19, 2014: 9:15 AM
Room: Booth 51
Oral Presentation
Morten FREDERIKSEN , Political Science, Aalborg University, Denmark
The paper seeks to conceptualise the relationship between trusting institutions and trusting people. While these two types of trust are clearly linked and share important similarities, they are also distinctly different at a phenomenological level. This paper elucidates these similarities and differences and the ways in which the two levels interact. First, it draws on Niklas Luhmann’s analysis of uncertainty and contingency along with his phenomenological distinction between trust in people and confidence in systems and institutions. Secondly,it draws on K. E. Loegstrup’s phenomenology of trusting as the default attitude within familiar social worlds.

Two fundamentally different ways of dealing with uncertainty are conceptualised. Trust, it is argued, is related only to alterity but depends on confidence in systems/institutions in order to bracket the contingency associated with any intersubjective encounter Trust is possible only when preceded by a trusting orientation, a sense that whatever future is in store will not be a bad one. This orientation is it is an expectation of a more or less wide array of possible futures all within what is familiarly relevant to at specific situation, delineated by confidence. However, trust also provides the foundations for building confidence. Confidence can only be established once the issue of human agency invariable linked to institutions and systems has been settled the in form of trust. Consequently, confidence is learned from trusting. The contribution of this paper is two-fold. First, it brings together otherwise disparate writing on the relationship between trust in institutions and trust in people, helping to clarify this point in trust research. Secondly, it provides conceptual tools to describe and analyse the relations ship between trust in intersubjective relations and the ways that familiar institutional and organizational backdrops provide the confidence to trust the other.