W048
A matter of trust: anthropological explorations into an old concept

Convenors:
Malgorzata Rajtar (Polish Academy of Sciences)
Anika Keinz (Europa-Universit├Ąt Viadrina Frankfurt/O)
Format:
Workshops
Location:
426
Start time:
27 August, 2008 at 9:00
Session slots:
2

Short abstract:

This workshop intends to examine ethnographic and anthropological encounters with trust and discourses of trust in post-socialist societies, as well as ethical dilemmas and emotions they raise.

Long abstract:

In the last two decades the concept of trust has become one of the major themes in sociology. A considerable amount of sociological theories have been formulated and numerous research studies have been conducted, all dealing with the issue of trust. While sociologists' approaches to trust tend to be increasingly culture-oriented, in anthropology, the concept is still rather neglected. Although trust is literally at the core of ethnographic fieldwork being the first relationship an ethnographer has to build with his/her informants, it tends to be taken for granted. Correspondingly, a more detailed anthropological elaboration of the term is one aim of this workshop. Another aim of the panel is to direct our anthropological gaze at the notion of trust, primarily its place and meaning in contemporary non-homogeneous cultures. In the diverse and changing world the rhetoric of trust is used by different political, religious and social actors to suit their often contradictory goals. This is particularly the case in post-socialist countries in Central and Eastern Europe. Ideologies of trust are produced by institutions, but are also appealing to people in order to redefine social relations, economic goals and political bonds. We invite papers that approach the concept of trust from a variety of perspectives. These include but are not limited to those that problematise notions and discourses of trust in regard to their religious, ethical or political ideologies; those that examine notions of trust in the restructuring of the economy in post-socialist societies; and those that problematise notions of trust methodologically.