Trust and cooperation: the democratic public sphere
The current deficit of trust in the working of democracy has been attracting the increasing attention of social scientists. Nevertheless, there is still a conspicuous lack of an integrative theory of trust. Existing literature is united in its recognition that the preferable democratic order should be rooted in trust relations. This assertion that democracy and trust are connected is based on the assumption that either civil society or institutional frameworks are prerequisite for achieving a healthy and stable democracy. This article argues that the communitarian and republican solutions to the deficit of trust should supplement each other. Only joint implementation of these two strategies for recovering trust can activate formal and informal mechanisms of trust production. A society that achieves an appropriate balance between the informality and formality of interactional practices is the one able to create conditions for cooperation and engagement in the public sphere.
Journal of Sociology
© 2001 Sage Publications. Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher. First published in Journal of Sociology. This journal is available online: http://jos.sagepub.com/content/vol37/issue4/