Davi­de Torsello: Trust, Dis­trust and Social Rela­ti­ons at an East Slo­va­ki­an Vil­la­ge

Trust and dis­trust seem to be impor­tant con­cepts when we des­cri­be how indi­vi­du­als struc­tu­ra­li­se their acts, and/or how they report with other peop­le their ideas on social reality. Trust that cre­a­tes a rela­ti­on based on reli­an­ce bet­we­en par­ti­es that share a com­mon goal, holds the empha­sis on inter­ests and instru­men­ta­lism and an array of mutu­al expec­ta­ti­ons and res­pon­si­bi­li­ti­es from both sides. These are defi­ned on the basis of the prin­cip­les and rules of the community. Deep dis­trust to indi­vi­du­als and insti­tu­ti­ons is one of the reac­ti­ons pro­du­ced by indi­vi­du­als by which the vil­la­ge peop­le react on the situ­a­ti­on of pover­ty and eco­no­mic penu­ry during their eve­ry­day life. In every detail of the social life of indi­vi­du­als trust is in stake, since due to the lack of eco­no­mic sour­ces the indi­vi­du­als see the oppor­tu­ni­ty to sur­vi­ve in social interaction. In such con­di­ti­ons there is no place to prac­ti­ce the „blind“ and abso­lu­te trust, since (the social and economic) goods are lac­king from the life of individuals. At the same time dis­trust results res­pon­si­bi­li­ty in the pla­y­ers of the inte­rac­ti­on that is seen not in apat­hy and passivity, but in one acti­ve mode of living in gene­ral con­di­ti­ons of dis­trust and lack.

The inhab­i­tants of Krá­¾o­vá nad Váhom con­si­der the impor­tan­ce of social rela­ti­ons as the adap­ta­ti­on stra­te­gy to big his­to­ri­cal changes. How could the exis­tence of domi­nant expressed dis­trust be under­sto­od in the community? In instru­men­tal con­cep­ti­on in case of need fami­ly mem­bers are poten­ti­al­ly the most pro­fi­tab­le sour­ces of help. Since fami­ly rela­ti­ons are alwa­ys „blood relations“. Although, on the other hand, strong empha­sis on fami­ly rela­ti­ons has also nega­ti­ve sides. The pet­ri­fi­ed eti­qu­et­te of beha­ving and main­ta­i­ning tire­so­me social rela­ti­ons can le­ad to the accu­mu­la­ti­on of nega­ti­ve emo­ti­ons that can thre­a­ten the sen­si­ti­ve sys­tem of fami­ly relations.
Rela­ti­ons out of fami­ly and wit­hin a vil­la­ge are cha­rac­te­ri­sed by dif­fe­rent social aspects: these are not so long-term than the rela­ti­ons wit­hin family. Peop­le can use instru­men­tal trust on dif­fe­rent levels depend­ing on how much time (and power) is inves­ted to the relationship. Although, on the other hand even if the emo­ti­o­nal load is eas­i­er in rela­ti­ons out­si­de the fami­ly than in the rela­ti­ons wit­hin the family, cap­ri­ci­ous­ness of rela­ti­ons out­si­de the fami­ly is stronger. Hen­ce, with the growth of dis­tan­ce bet­we­en the indi­vi­du­als the cog­ni­ti­ve map of trust beco­mes mo­re complex. At this point the usage of dis­trust can beco­me of stra­te­gic impor­tan­ce and the expressed dis­trust bet­we­en the vil­la­ge habi­tants does not ref­lect the lack of forms of asso­ci­a­ti­ons or ci­vil col­lec­ti­ve actions, as some of the the­o­ri­es seem to declare.
Using dis­trust is express­ing tense that is pres­ent bet­we­en dif­fe­rent lay­ers on which trust is based and with the help of which it is maintained. By using direct dis­trust vil­la­ge peop­le are able to cre­a­te balan­ce bet­we­en fol­lo­wing per­so­nal inter­ests and the con­struc­ti­on of social and cog­ni­ti­ve trust. Hen­ce, dis­trust beco­mes the sup­ple­ment of trust and at the same time the tool for cre­a­ting attach­ment bet­we­en the peop­le in uncer­ta­in times.