Trust Towards Fellow Human Beings

The paper outlines the theoretical framework of trust towards fellow human beings. The addressed phenomenon is well-described in trust research since trust towards unknown others is one of the most often examined problem in the field, both conceptually and empirically. In spite of that nevertheless it is justified to revise the original theoretical framings of trust towards people in general as the progression of late modern tendencies and the further acceleration of globalization are reshaping our world and our experiences with and relatedness to fellow human beings. The paper starts with situational trust literature and the proposed criticism of the notion of trust towards unknown others, which is considered in these studies as something highly doubtful or even meaningless. The argument reviews the main theories of situational trust and it sheds light on the problematic interpretation of and ill-founded linkage between showing trust and feeling trust in these framings. Based on this critical reading, the paper states that if the conceptual components of situational trust are carefully considered, then these theories, of course, unwittingly, reaffirm that, indeed, individuals relate themselves to other people in general, in a more or less trusting sense. The second part of the paper comprehensively describes the various dimensions and specificities of this emotional relatedness of the one to his/her fellow human beings, the development and formation of this disposition, as well as the impacts of this subjective stance on one’s personality, understandings, and praxes, among them the routinized practice of showing trust. The last section of the paper draws attention to the fundamental feature of trust towards fellow human beings that is transcending the sense of belonging to sameness by recognizing togetherness with others’ otherness. This – often disregarded – component of trust towards people in general gains growing theoretical importance in our time; it is the foundation of the concept of trust towards fellow human beings.

Released: Replika 126, 13–32.
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