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Politics and trust in the South Caucasus and in East and West Europe

Roberts, Ken and Pollock, Gary (2011) Politics and trust in the South Caucasus and in East and West Europe. Polish Sociological Review, 2 (174). pp. 167-179. ISSN 1231-1413

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Abstract

Trust in political actors is currently low in all parts of Europe and the former Soviet Union. This paper proceeds by presenting recent evidence from the EU27 and the South Caucasus, and explores differences in levels of trust towards different political actors, between socio-demographic groups, and between countries. The differences are around generally low levels of trust. It is argued that this lack of trust needs to be set in the contexts of economic globalisation having widened inequalities while disempowering national politicians, and the absence of effective political checks on politicians’ actions. Throughout the analysis, contrasts are drawn between the relatively mature democracies of the west and the new democracies of Eastern Europe. The paper concludes by suggesting why, in certain regions, trust has been most easily maintained or restored in relatively undemocratic political systems and actors.

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