This panel focuses on how peoples' manipulation of trust and its opposite, alienation, has become a new form of discourse in the recently emerging environments of political, medical, ritual and religious super-diversity in East Africa.
Super-diversity is not the same as pluralism. For example, by super-diversity, we refer to more than religious pluralism, which denotes a number of religious practices co-existing in East Africa. Diversification or super-diversification implies mutual borrowing of ideas, practices and styles between them, and by implication more differentiated strategies adopted by religious actors in search of truth, good luck, cure or safety etc. In researching truth, people move between trust talk and alienable talk based on mistrust or the loss of trust, from the past to the present. But how is the discourse of trust or distrust affected by the newly emerging socio-cultural super-diversity of people? In current globalized risk societies such as Japan, which experienced a triple disaster in 2011, trust talk about safety is getting impossible in everyday life. People are forced to trust some evidently untrustworthy political, cultural and even scientific discourse. What can turn talk based on trust into talk that is alienating, and then what can restore reliability in trust ? What is the true nature of trust in super-diversity? This panel explores these questions by focusing on relationships between actors engaged in economic, political, medical, ritual and religious practices in East Africa. Based on ethnographic fieldwork conducted in East Africa, we will provide insightful and contestable discussions of trust in emerging areas of super-diversity in the region.