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Self at the Heart of Trust: The Global Relevance of an Interactionist Understanding of Trust as a Form of Association

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image of Comparative Sociology
For content published from 1960-2001, see International Journal of Comparative Sociology.

Trust is a way of organizing one’s relationship to the other, an orientation that exemplifies Simmel’s form of association of the second order. Whereas much has been said about the “further element” that distinguishes trust from confidence, I argue that the missing element is self. Confidence building is an inherently systemic or institution relevant function; in contrast, trust emerges in relationship to the self of the role-occupant, for this individual is the interface between these larger structures and the other. Providing fertile grounds for trust, confidence is not trust. Both may place the individual at risk; however, trust places the self at risk. In this paper, I examine the relevance of this self-oriented approach to trust in the context of increasing globalization as diverse selves cross national boundaries.

Affiliations: 1: State University of New York Institute of Technology Utica NY 13413, Email:


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