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The Experiential Basis of Social Trust Towards Ethnic Outgroup Members

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This study contributes to social trust research by examining the extent to which cross-group interaction provokes exclusionary reactions among trusters. Specifically, we examine whether unpleasant contact with ethnic outgroup members constrains the relationship between social trust and ethnic exclusionism among majority members. The analysis shows that: (a) social trust relates negatively to ethnic exclusionism, (b) unpleasant contact experiences relate positively to ethnic exclusionism, and (c) social trust is almost unrelated to ethnic exclusionism when contact experiences have been unpleasant. Inconsistent with “moralistic” perspectives, social trusters’ views of ethnic outgroup members are remarkably experience-based. To understand the “experiential effect”, we develop a tentative interpretation emphasizing the joint capacity of negative emotions and group membership salience to enhance the implications of unpleasant encounters among contacted trusters. The analysis is based on the 2014-European Social Survey, including 27,796 individuals and 21 countries. The concluding section discusses how our affect-salience interpretation adds to the experiential understanding of social trust and interethnic relations in contemporary nations.

TidsskriftSocial Indicators Research
Sider (fra-til)191-209
Antal sider19
StatusUdgivet - 9 feb. 2021

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