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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Abstract

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.