Canadian Forest Service Publications

The problem with trust: insights from advisory committees in the forest sector of Alberta. 2010. Parkins, J.R. Society and Natural Resources 23(9):1-15.

Year: 2010

Issued by: Northern Forestry Centre

Catalog ID: 35834

Language: English

Availability: PDF (request by e-mail)

Available from the Journal's Web site.
DOI: 10.1080/08941920802545792

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Using observational and interview data from forest sector public advisory committees in Alberta, Canada, this article investigates the differential outcomes emerging from multilayered notions of trust and distrust within small-group settings. Although the applied literature on public participation and a good deal of the literature on trust and risk management demonstrate that trust contributes constructively to group outcomes, this analysis suggests that trust is not everywhere and always a good thing. In fact, high levels of interpersonal trust (familiarity) may represent a kind of corrosive element to the maintenance of democratic norms, especially in long-term group settings. In combining elements of general trust with skepticism, a critical trust is proposed for these deliberative settings.