Trust and Uncertainty in a Settler Society: Relations between Settlers and Aborigines in Australia
The recognition that ‘trust’ is a crucial feature of any well-functioning liberal democracy has been a staple of political theory since the early 1960s when books like Almond and Verba’s The Civic Culture (1963) made their first impact. Long before that, ‘trust’ was at least implicitly important for political philosophers and social theorists concerned with concepts of social order, especially as society moved from tradition to modernity (Mitzal, 1996: ch. 1). The concern with ‘trust’ has had a dramatic revival in the work of Robert Putnam (1993, 1995, 2000), with his emphasis on the importance of widespread civic engagement for developing and sustaining trust among neighbours and in relation to the political system as a whole. Related work on the concept of ‘civil society’ as an important area of non-state interrelationships fundamental to the successful functioning of free democratic societies has been gaining ground in the last decade and a half (see Keane, 1998). Most of this literature is concerned with generalised trust within liberal democratic communities considered as cohesive, or potentially cohesive, societies of equal citizens (but see Varshney, 2001). This chapter is concerned with relationships of trust across Australia’s racial divide, between settler and indigenous Australians.
KeywordsSocial Capital Indigenous People Civic Engagement Torres Strait Islander Aboriginal Land
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