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From the same journal

Political Trust, Commitment and Responsiveness

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Publication details

JournalPolitical Studies
DateAccepted/In press - 3 May 2019
DateE-pub ahead of print - 6 Jun 2019
DatePublished (current) - 1 May 2020
Issue number2
Number of pages17
Pages (from-to)446-462
Early online date6/06/19
Original languageEnglish


Political trust has become a central focus of political analysis and public lament. Political theorists and philosophers typically think of interpersonal trust in politics as a fragile but valuable resource for a flourishing or stable democratic polity. This article examines what conception of trust is needed in order to play this role. It unpicks two candidate answers, a moral and a responsiveness conception, the latter of which has been central to recent political theory in this area. It goes on to outline a third, commitment conception and to set out how a focus on commitments and their fulfilment provides a better account of trust for political purposes. Adopting this conception discloses how trust relies on a contestable public normative space and has significant implications for how we should approach three cognate topics, namely, judgements of trust, the place of distrust and the relationship of interpersonal to institutional trust and distrust.

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    Research areas

  • commitment, democratic theory, distrust, trust

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