Chapter

Introduction

Carina Gunnarson

in Cultural Warfare and Trust

Published by Manchester University Press

Published in print March 2008 | ISBN: 9780719076725
Published online July 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781781701430 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7228/manchester/9780719076725.003.0001
Introduction

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Research shows that the existence of social capital in a society — or, in the context of the study described in this book, more specifically generalised trust — could be decisive not only in the prevention of crime, but also for economic development and an effective democracy. Although generalised trust and cooperation are highly desirable for any society — and many societies are indeed marked by high levels of trust and cooperation — societies may fall into a negative cycle of distrust and non-cooperation, which is difficult to break. This book explores institutional explanations and more recent political efforts to break the heritage of the past, that is, to turn the vicious circle of non-cooperation into a virtuous circle based on trust and cooperation, and to change citizens' perceptions of society. It looks at Palermo, a city in Italy where school policy represented a cultural warfare, where the dominant role model offered by the Mafia was challenged. The book focuses on a top-down action to change a predominating political culture of distrust, that is, by civic education at a grass-roots level.

Keywords: generalised trust; Palermo; Italy; Mafia; civic education; distrust; non-cooperation; cooperation; cultural warfare; political culture

Chapter.  6813 words. 

Subjects: International Relations

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