Citation Markova I (ed.) (2012) Trust and Democratic Transition in Post-Communist Europe. Proceedings of the British Academy, 123. Oxford: Oxford University Press/British Academy. http://ukcatalogue.oup.com/product/9780197263136.do; https://doi.org/10.5871/bacad/9780197263136.001.0001
Abstract The ten chapters in this book are concerned with theoretical and empirical analyses of trust and distrust in post-Communist Europe after the collapse of the Soviet bloc in 1989. The contributors come from different disciplines, ranging from history, economics, and political science to social psychology and sociology, and they show, above all, that the Soviet 'bloc' was in fact a rich spectrum of different countries with diverse histories, cultures, and traditions, and-not surprisingly-with different expectations for the future. Like other social concepts, trust never makes sense in isolation but only within the network of other concepts-in this case, social capital, faith, belief, solidarity, reciprocity, and security. 'Trust' is a highly polysemic term. Differences between meanings of trust in countries with democratic traditions and in post-totalitarian countries raise questions about the ways in which history, culture, and social psychology shape the nature and development of political phenomena. These questions include: antinomies such as trust versus risk, and trust versus fear; the co-existence of rural and urban systems; legitimacy of different political regimes; and the arbitrariness of decisions and the abuse of common sense in totalitarianism. The transition period in many post-Communist countries has now been completed and in others it is likely to be completed in the near future. Yet the chapters show that while political and economic changes can have rapid effects, cultural and psychological changes may linger and influence the quality of political trust and representations of democracy.