Chapter

Moral Bases of Public Distrust

Ronnie Janoff-Bulman and Michael T. Parker

in Restoring Trust in Organizations and Leaders

Published in print May 2012 | ISBN: 9780199756087
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199949571 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199756087.003.0002
Moral Bases of Public Distrust

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This chapter uses morality as a lens for understanding distrust of government in the United States today. Drawing from recent work on the psychology of morality, it highlights the unique nature of moral convictions and the strong links between morality and trust. With this as a backdrop, distrust is discussed in relation to ingroup-outgroup status and perceptions of threat in moral conflict. These factors are then used to explore the increased partisanship that has defined U.S. national politics over the past few decades. Together morality and partisanship provide a basis for understanding distrust not only of those on the opposite side of the political divide, which we might expect, but, paradoxically, also distrust of those on our own side of the political divide as well.

Keywords: morality; trust; distrust; politics; partisanship; ingroup; outgroup; threat

Chapter.  8929 words. 

Subjects: Organizational Theory and Behaviour

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