Mistrust pp 1-11 | Cite as

Distrusting Mistrust

  • Florian Mühlfried


How does mistrust manifest and become an observable reality? This is the main topic of this chapter. The answer is in social practice. A mistrustful person acts—in contrast to someone overcome by a fundamental loss of trust, resulting in a paralysing horror. Following the sociologist Niklas Luhmann, mistrust is defined as a relation to the world based on reservations and expressed by ‘defensive arrangements’. Such arrangements are made in order to acquire knowledge and reduce dependencies. Starting from this conceptual approximation, three questions are posed that are addressed in the following chapters. What is special about social practices based on mistrust? Does mistrust necessarily include the reduction of complexity? And where does radical mistrust lead to?


Populism Postcolonialism Crises Trust 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Florian Mühlfried
    • 1
  1. 1.Social Anthropology ProgrammeIlia State UniversityTbilisiGeorgia

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