P061
The anthropology of mistrust

Convenors:
Christian Giordano (University of Fribourg)
Florian Mühlfried
Stream:
Panels
Location:
U6-23
Start time:
21 July, 2016 at 9:00
Session slots:
2

Short abstract:

This panel is dedicated to the empiricism of mistrust. Particular attention will be paid to how mistrust relates to informality and how it may lead to an undermining of legitimacy. At the same time, we also ask whether practices of mistrust possess the power to constitute.

Long abstract:

The notion of trust has become popular in the social science of the last years. The discourses centred on this notion haven't yet fully found their ways into the field of social anthropology, but some approaches of sociologists like Gambetta, Luhmann or Tilly to trust have inspired anthropologists to develop new perspectives on well-known phenomena like kinship. After years of talking about trust, mistrust appeared on the agenda. Usually, mistrust is scrutinized as the flip side of trust. Frequent questions are: How do scandals like the NSA-affect citizens' to the state? What has to be done as to restore trust to the state and to overcome the alleged mistrust-crisis? With this panel, we intend to take a step back and come to terms with what people actually do when they mistrust. In other words, we are interested in the empiricism of mistrust. Particular attention will be paid to how mistrust relates to informality and how it may lead to an undermining of legitimacy. At the same time, we also ask whether practices of mistrust possess the power to constitute. Can we identify communities of mistrust? May mistrust be culturally coded? If yes, what is particular about these codes? Does the sharing of mistrust create new forms of legitimacy? We are thus advocating a concept of mistrust as a mode of relating to the world. The present panel is meant to be a first step towards a systematic approach to the anthropology of mistrust.