Scholars have long seen trust as a foundational social good. We therefore have ample studies on building trust in free markets, on cultivating trust in the state, and on rebuilding trust through civil society. The contributors to this volume, instead, take a step back. They ask: Can mistrust ever be more than the flip side of trust, more than the sign of an absence or failure? By looking ethnographically at what a variety of actors actually do when they express mistrust, this volume offers a richly empirical trove of the social life of mistrust across a range of settings.
"This collection of essays comes at a good time for North American and European readers who may find themselves taken aback by increasingly fraught political confrontations at home, as well as for more practiced scholars in the humanities and social sciences who want to think past functionalist kinds of definitions about a 'trust deficit' that is normally seen as an obstacle to healthy social relations." (Bruce Grant, New York University)
"Consisting of inspiring case studies from a wide range of geographical and cultural zones, this book offers compelling reasons on the need to take mistrust seriously as an object of anthropological research, rather than interpreting this phenomenon as a 'lack of trust'." (Silvia Serrano, Sorbonne University)