07. april 2015

Trusting the other or taking a chance? An investigation of chance and trust temporalities

Theories of modernity and risk society argue that increasing levels of risk fundamentally alter or lower the level of trust in society. In this article we argue that this assumption is based in a fallacious theoretical link between trust and risk. Rather than calculative assessment of risk and specific events, trust directs anticipation towards process. First, we outline dominant approaches to trust as a question of actions and uncertainty of outcomes, arguing that these approaches treat trust and chance as interchangeable, conflating the different socio-temporalities within which risk and trust, respectively, reside. Secondly, the issue of temporality is traced in Luhmann’s work on trust and it is demonstrated how his dichotomous treatment of social time conflates markedly different temporal experiences. As a solution to this, the article presents the notion of a third temporal mode of the process present from Deleuze’s concept of becoming. This is theoretically reconnected to the process present to trust theory, arguing that the uncertainty trust deals with, is connected to process experience rather than expectations of the future. Finally, we discuss the theoretical and empirical consequences of a socio-temporal distinction between trust and chance, and argue that trusting is an epistemological slip and space of non-reflexivity, that transform time to process.

Frederiksen, M. and Bruvik Heinskou, M.: Trusting the other or taking a chance? An investigation of chance and trust temporalities; Timer and Society; 2015