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Institutionalizing Distrust, Enculturating Trust

Braithwaite, John
June 4, 2015

Source: (1998) In, Valerie Braithwaite and Margaret Levi, eds., Trust and Governance. New York: Russell Sate. Pp. 343-375.

As Braithwaite remarks at the beginning of his essay, we have all experienced how distrust can sour interpersonal relations and work environments. Trust then is vital and desirable in human life. Yet the more trust there is in the world, the greater the likelihood that it will be breached. In this context Braithwaite explores how distrust can be structured into contemporary societies to protect against violation of trust. That is, if distrust can be structured deeply enough into institutions, then in day-to-day interpersonal life trust can be nurtured or enculturated to a maximum extent. Braithwaite pursues this argument by discussing two conceptions of trust, the undersupply of trust, the regulatory pyramid, the republican architecture of trust, checks and balances with respect to trust, and institutionalizing distrust while enculturating interpersonal trust.


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