In security studies, there is an unquestioned assumption of a linear link between trust and security. However, such an assumption neglects complex identity dynamics that can be involved in trust-building discourses for engendering security. There needs to be greater examination into what is meant by trust, and upon what, and whom, and how the politics of identity works in social trust building and how states can influence this process. This article contributes to the literature on trust, security, and identity in International Relations (IR) by making a case for a conceptual focus on the formation of particularized distrust towards “the other” as a corollary to trust and security of “the self.” It is argued that in the construction of a political community where security is associated with trust, particularized distrust can also be promoted through institutional discourses—strengthening the “trusting we” by constructing “the other” who can challenge social trust and feelings of security associated with it. The argument is illustrated through critically examining a state-level narrative in Norway in relation to “the other,” that is, the immigrant. Through this illustrative example, mutual constitutiveness of trust and distrust in a self/other discursive construction will be shown.

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Political Psychology
International Institute of Social Studies of Erasmus University (ISS)

Bilgic, A., Hoogensen Gjørv, G., & Wilcock, C. (2019). Trust, Distrust, and Security: An Untrustworthy Immigrant in a Trusting Community. Political Psychology, 40(6), 1283–1296. doi:10.1111/pops.12613