Social and Political Trust in Established Democracies

Kenneth Newton

in Critical Citizens

Published in print March 1999 | ISBN: 9780198295686
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191600043 | DOI:
Social and Political Trust in Established Democracies

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Deals with three main topics: the nature and origins of social trust and its importance in society; trends in social trust in Western societies (with some comparisons with less developed societies); and the relations between social and political trust, and their implications for theories of politics and society. In terms of the main concepts and measures of the book, and as outlined in the introductory chapter, social trust is a feature of the most basic level of community, while political trust refers primarily to attitudes about political institutions and leaders. The general assumption seems to be that social and political trust are closely linked, perhaps different sides of the same coin—social trust is regarded as a strong determinant of, or influence upon, political support of various kinds, including support for the political community, confidence in institutions, and trust in political leaders. As a result it is believed that the accumulation of social capital, in the form of social trust, will also result in the accumulation of political capital. Presents theory and evidence questioning these assumptions; it includes evidence comparing social trust in communal and modern societies, and of political trust in early modern and contemporary democracies.

Keywords: communal society; contemporary democracies; democracies; early modern democracies; modern society; political capital; political trust; social capital; social trust; Western democracies; Western societies

Chapter.  8499 words. 

Subjects: Comparative Politics

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