Trust in Crisis
Though the economic crisis in Europe since 2007 has provoked substantial discussion within the public sphere regarding the decline of trust in the State and major private institutions like banks, there has been little research on the practical importance of trustworthiness and trust to addressing problems generated by the recession. Our project investigates if community and faith-based initiatives aimed at increasing local resources and individual aspirations and growth encourage qualities associated with trustworthiness, for instance, reliability and honesty, and placing trust in order to function. The study likewise analyses the significance of trust for the initiative's sustainability and impact.
The research focuses specifically on areas of high ethno-religious diversity and deprivation in Paris, London, Berlin, and Rome. The choice of cities and areas characterised by diversity indicates the influence of economic pressures like budget cuts and low growth, inequality, and the status of interfaith relations on the role of trust in community-based initiatives. The project examines trust within three separate approaches to generating local resources and enhancing individual self-awareness: inter-religious understanding, social action, and economic development.
The project seeks to identify:
- The meaning of trust in practice, in this case, within interfaith relations in Europe under austerity and in an era of continuing recession
- How individuals of different faith, ethnic, and socio-economic backgrounds decide to trust or mistrust each other, or more specifically, the criteria they use to determine trustworthiness
- What the placement of trust means in terms of behaviour toward the 'other'
- The impact that trust and mistrust in local interfaith relations have on capacity to organise effectively to address shared concerns or differences, and more broadly, notions and practices of citizenship