Trust in Society
Karen S. Cook
Russell Sage Foundation, 2001 - Political Science - 403 pages
Trust plays a pervasive role in social affairs, even sustaining acts of cooperation among strangers who have no control over each other's actions. But the full importance of trust is rarely acknowledged until it begins to break down, threatening the stability of social relationships once taken for granted. Trust in Society uses the tools of experimental psychology, sociology, political science, and economics to shed light on the many functions trust performs in social and political life. The authors discuss different ways of conceptualizing trust and investigate the empirical effects of trust in a variety of social settings, from the local and personal to the national and institutional. Drawing on experimental findings, this book examines how people decide whom to trust, and how a person proves his own trustworthiness to others. Placing trust in a person can be seen as a strategic act, a moral response, or even an expression of social solidarity. People often assume that strangers are trustworthy on the basis of crude social affinities, such as a shared race, religion, or hometown. Likewise, new immigrants are often able to draw heavily upon the trust of prior arrivals—frequently kin—to obtain work and start-up capital.
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