Archiv für Februar 2015

How is Trust Possible? The Issue of Power Dynamics

Developing a personal relationship, working on a political project or spending a few days in a hut together: no matter for what kind of cooperation, I need to know how much I can trust you.
(Yes, actually it is more realistic and safe to ask for ‚how much‘ or ‚in which respect‘ than assuming I can only either trust you under all circumstances or not at all, since the first would make me a lot more vulnerable.)
What does trust mean? Does it mean I have to believe you are a nice person? Does it mean I need prove you are not gonna physically hurt or rob me and not gonna lie to my face? Well, that might not be the worst start, but that’s not exactly the thing I have in mind.
All places, groups and relationships are influenced by power dynamics between the people involved. They might be constituted by gender, being (not) exposed to racism, income, certified level of education, age, physical ability, legal status, experience, reputation, the ability to express yourself (in a certain language) … but the list cannot be complete and the relevant factors differ for each situation.
Power dynamics cannot be abolished by ignoring or denying them.
So what does trust mean in this context? (mehr…)