Monday, September 9, 2019

What Is 'Trust' (After Niklas Luhmann) Essay Example | Topics and Well Written Essays - 1250 words

What Is 'Trust' (After Niklas Luhmann) - Essay Example In his work he views trust as s very important sociological phenomenon that makes possible the functioning of individuals within society, and at the same time the very existence of this society. Beginning from the 1990s, the sociologists began developing the concept of trust as a key element of social relationships, and the upsurge of interest to the problem of trust is conditioned, among all, by certain characteristics of the modern society, those being more active position of people towards their own future, and at the same time the uncertainty of this future, increased interdependence of individuals and communities, multiple opportunities offered by social and technological development, and the risks connected with them. All these presuppose the necessity of trust for normal and efficient life and social functioning. Earlier, trust was often characterised as a purely personal attitude, but Luhmann regards is as an aspect of interpersonal relations and a motivating factor for individuals to act. For the scholar, trust is an important element of social, political, personal, and cultural life of any human being. For N. Luhmann, trust is, above all, the absence of sureness, and the result of the impossibility to predict the future. So, there is no wonder that that the key terms for Luhmann's understanding of the concept of trust are risk and uncertainty. He, however, offers a way to solve the contradiction between trust and certainty. The main problem when analysing the contemporary society is making no division between trust and non-trust. For Luhmann, there are two structural changes of paramount importance that are happening in the modern world: the diversification and insulation of the known and the unknown, and the growing tendency to substitute risk for danger, i.e. considering and envisaging all the dangerous consequences that may occur as a result of human actions or non-actions. Differentiating between trust and certainty, Niklas Luhmann pinpoints the fact that in the modern conditions of openness and lack of integration, the nature of relations between trust and certainty are changing. Certainty, for the researcher, is something that presupposes complete absence of any disappointment; whereas trust always takes into account some possible risks, or at least an element of risk. The main difference between trust and certainty depends on the peculiarities of personal perception and attitude. If a person does not consider any alternatives to some event of action, it means he is certain - that is, in the state of certainty. If, however, a person prefers one action or event to the rest that are potentially possible, this situation is described as a situation of trust. Therefore, even if there is a high possibility of disappointment, preferring a particular line of actions is referred to by Luhmann as trust. Consequently, it is impossible to either trust or not trust to something that is completely unknown. "[T]rust is only possible in a familiar world; it needs history as a reliable background"1. Only awareness of how the things are (familiarity) makes both trust and distrust possible - it makes any expectations possible, however it does not guarantee that what we are expecting is going to happen. Awareness is not knowledge of how somebody will act, or what

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