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Distrust under Conditions of Uncertainty
9. December 2021/17:00 - 19:00
The cohesion of communities and entire societies is oftentimes explained with the notion of trust. Conversely, the opposite of trust, distrust, is typically thought to have the opposite effect: According to a common – and at first glance highly plausible – view, distrust drives people apart.
New authoritarian movements and groups opposing Covid measures suggest, however, that this simple contrast needs revision. Under conditions of uncertainty, distrust seems to become a means of reducing social complexity that contributes not only to explaining the world, but also brings people together. For instance, what unites and mobilizes the extremely heterogeneous so-called Querdenker (“lateral thinkers”) movement seems to be the shared distrust of political institutions, established media, and science.
Are we observing a new social division and conflict between those who tend to trust public discourse and those who – especially since the beginning of the pandemic – harbor a deep distrust? How does this distrust relate to new particularized communities of trust? How can we distinguish between forms of doubt that are essential for the democratic way of life, and more destructive forms of distrust? On our panel we would like to shed light on these and other questions from philosophical, historical and socio-psychological perspectives.
Panelists: PD Dr. Christian Budnik (Zürich), PD Dr. Eva Marlene Hausteiner (Greifswald/Bonn), Prof. Dr. Vera King (Frankfurt).
Comment: Prof. Dr. Ayelet Shachar, Dr. Greta Wagner (Luzern/Darmstadt) Moderation: Dr. Tobias Albrecht (Frankfurt)