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Trusting and its Tribulations

Trusting and its Tribulations

Vigdis Broch-Due | Margit Ystanes


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Despite its immense significance and ubiquity in our everyday lives, the complex workings of trust are poorly understood and theorized. This volume explores trust and mistrust amidst locally situated scenes of sociality and intimacy. Because intimacy has often been taken for granted as the foundation of trust relations, the ethnographies presented here challenge us to think about dangerous intimacies, marked by mistrust, as well as forms of trust that cohere through non-intimate forms of sociality.

Vigdis Broch-Due is Professor of Social Anthropology and International Poverty Studies, University of Bergen. She is Scientific Director of the Centre for Advanced Study (CAS), Oslo.

Margit Ystanes is a postdoctoral fellow at the Department of Social Anthropology, University of Bergen, where she received her PhD in 2011.

“The ethnographies in Trusting and its Tribulations are particularly effective in challenging conventional Western assumptions about trust, especially the supposed relationship between trust, intimacy/kinship, and equality. They demonstrate firmly what anthropology can add to the description and theory of trust and why anthropology’s voice is essential on this subject as on all practical contemporary social topics.” · Anthropology Review Database

“This impressive volume stands as a powerful corrective to latent ethnocentric tendencies lying at the heart of much contemporary scholarship on the nature of trust… Instead of identifying trust with the intimacies of family life, or attributing it to the conscious calculations of risk-averse individuals, this manuscript reveals the importance of approaching trust as something performed.” · Sharon Hutchinson, Department of Anthropology, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Table of Contents

Section Title Page Action Price
Trusting and its Tribulations iii
Contents v
Illustrations vii
Preface viii
Introduction 1
1 Unfixed Trust 37
2 Witchcraft 60
3 Trusting the Untrustworthy 84
4 The Puzzle of the Animal Witch 105
5 ‘Sharing Secrets’ 131
6 Eddies of Distrust 148
7 Intimate Documents 170
8 Trustworthy Bodies 191
9 Habitus of Trust 213
10 ‘You Can Tell the Company We Done Quit’ 235
Index 259