Irenne Weipert-Fenner, Federico M. Rossi, Nadine Sika, Jonas Wolff | 2024

Trust and social movements: A new research agenda

In: International Journal of Comparative Sociology, Volume 0: Ahead of Print

Social movement studies clearly suggest that trust matters for processes of social mobilization: When engaging in costly, and potentially risky, contentious collective action on a common goal, activists and groups rely on the expectation that fellow protestors and allies will not fail them. To date, however, we lack research that explains which types of trust shape the emergence and evolution of social movements. Trust, we argue, is not simply an independent variable influencing mobilization, but is itself shaped—built, stabilized, weakened, or even destroyed—over the course of collective contentious action. To set the stage for a corresponding research agenda, this introduction to the special issue “Trust and Social Movements” bridges the gap between research on trust and social movement studies and clarifies the complex conceptual relationship between various types of trust and the dynamics of social mobilization. Furthermore, we identify overarching research questions, summarize the contributions to the special issue, and discuss key findings.

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