Trust as a Psychosocial Feeling: Socialization and Totalitarianism

Patrick Waiter and Ivana Marková

in Trust and Democratic Transition in Post-Communist Europe

Published by British Academy

Published in print September 2004 | ISBN: 9780197263136
Published online February 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191734922 | DOI:

Series: Proceedings of the British Academy

Trust as a Psychosocial Feeling: Socialization and Totalitarianism

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Georg Simmel, who is well known for his study of the emerging social conditions of sociality and its forms, developed the analysis of psychosocial feelings and emotional categories in order to grasp the phenomenology of socialization. His ideas on trust, more than those of any other scholar, are pertinent to the study and understanding of trust/fear in totalitarian and post-Communist societies. More specifically, Simmel's concept of trust is based on the self/other dialogical interdependence and psychosocial feelings; multifaceted meanings of trust/distrust in their cultural, historical, and political historical conditions; secrets as reciprocal relations and secret societies; and inductive knowledge gained through different forms of socialization. Totalitarian and semi-totalitarian political regimes thrive on distrust and promote a socialization that displays itself in psychosocial feelings of fear and suspicion. This chapter discusses social relations rather than economic relations, trust and language, socialization of distrust, socialization and totalitarianism, and secrecy in the Soviet bloc.

Keywords: Georg Simmel; Soviet bloc; trust; distrust; psychosocial feelings; socialization; secrecy; language; social relations; totalitarianism

Chapter.  8870 words. 

Subjects: Social Psychology

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