Can we rebuild trust in a time of increasing conflict and paralysis? Or rather, can we build trust, for the first time, wide and strong enough to bring us together to work on the complex problems of our age?
Relations of trust have been weakened over the past century by a historic expansion of communication and cross-cultural interaction, and the advance of complex, fluid relationships. Now the rapid rise of the internet has accelerated the disruption. Many long for the comfort and security of relations in which one knew whom to trust and what to expect; yet at the same time they may embrace the dynamism and creativity that comes from mixing of cultures and perspectives.
This book explores current conflicts and confusions of relations and identities, using both general theory and specific cases. It argues that we are at a catalyzing moment in a long transition from a community in which the prime rule was tolerance, to one with a commitment to understanding; from one where it was considered wrong to argue about cultural differences, to one where such arguments are essential.
The development of this rich community is essential as well as difficult. Complex societies produce complex challenges, from climate change to inequality to the risk-laden opportunities of bioengineering, that demand collaboration among people with widely varying views. Such brewing crises cannot be worked through without far more deliberate discussion and cooperation, and higher levels of trust, than we have today. This book explores many challenges ahead and suggests some practical directions
for resolving them.
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Number of pages: 336
Weight: 670 g
Dimensions: 241 x 173 x 27 mm
a compelling work of social theory that illuminates the promise of an emerging 21st century institutional form: the "rich community" built on diversity and differentiated identities joined by collaboration and mutual adjustment. Professor Heckscher documents its rise and the fumbles and controversies along the way, arguing that the shared sensibility of this kind of loosely-bounded, fluid, Internet-enabled community is necessary to solve major world problems such as
climate change, global conflict, or racial tensions. The book harks back to Weber in its emphasis on patterns of meaning, yet is highly relevant to the big questions of our time * Rosabeth Moss Kanter, Harvard Business School *
At a moment in which social scientists seem to be shying away from the big questions that animated classical social theory, Trust in a Complex World takes on the most significant problems of our time and addresses them in a fresh and compelling way. Building upon a deep foundation of social theory, knowledge of the social-science literature, and just plain erudition, the author argues convincingly that both traditional and communitarian forms of community are
unequal to the challenges contemporary societies face, and (with appropriate caution and reflexivity) proposes as third model of community, better adapted to current conditions and inchoate in several contemporary institutions, that offers a potential solution. In both diagnosis and prescription, this is
a book with which every social scientist - indeed, every educated citizen - will find it profitable to read and engage. * Paul DiMaggio, Princeton University *
Our world seems to grow ever more fragmented, even as technology allows us to connect with others around the world on a daily basis. [Those on the political right and left both advocate for greater community, although they often mean different things.] Charles Hecksher's Trust in a Complex World lays out how we can build the trust we need to solve the big problems we face as a species. He advocates for a "rich community" that allows people to collaborate across the
boundaries that traditionally separated us. [It is a hopeful book for an anxious age.] * Gerald F. Davis, Wilbur K. Pierpont Professor of Management, The University of Michigan *