Williamson’s characterisation of calculativeness as inimical to trust contradicts most sociological trust research. However, a similar argument is found within trust phenomenology. This paper re-investigates Williamson’s argument from the perspective of Løgstrup’s phenomenological theory of trust. Contrary to Williamson, however, Løgstrup’s contention is that trust, not calculativeness, is the default attitude and only when suspicion is awoken does trust falter. The paper argues that while Williamson’s distinction between calculativeness and trust is supported by phenomenology, the analysis needs to take actual subjective experience into consideration. It points out that, first, Løgstrup places trust alongside calculativeness as a different mode of engaging in social interaction, rather conceiving of trust as a state or the outcome of a decision-making process. Secondly, the analysis must take into consideration that people often engage in interaction on the basis of familiarity rather than calculation. Finally, the institutionally multi-layered character of social interaction means that trust and calculativeness cannot a priori be separated into non-market and market relations. Rather, it is reasonable to expect that both trust and calculativeness may exist within both market and non-market relations.
Journal of Trust Research, 2014, Vol 4, Issue 1, p. 34-43