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Trust and ViolenceAn Essay on a Modern Relationship$
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Jan Philipp Reemtsma

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780691142968

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691142968.001.0001

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Trust and Modernity

Trust and Modernity

(p.9) Chapter 1 Trust and Modernity
Trust and Violence

Jan Philipp Reemtsma

, Dominic Bonfiglio
Princeton University Press

This chapter argues that modernity's trust in the whole consists in the whole not entering the equation. We still trust in the whole, but the preservation of that whole rests on everyone's shoulders. Trust in the stability of functional differentiation is not something modernity can demand; and any attempt to do so is rendered harmless by its own absurdity. Modern trust rests on the belief that the absence of such a demand is guaranteed. This guarantee arises from legal regulations that enable us to meet one another as parties to a contract, as beneficiaries of certain legal rights. The state monopoly on violence enforces these legal regulations, producing a society in which individuals or groups are forbidden from using violence to settle their disputes, and punished if they do. This sense of mutual trust—the expectation of nonviolence in one's interactions—is a consequence of the monopoly on violence, but it is also its prerequisite.

Keywords:   violence, trust, modernity, functional differentiation, legal regulations, nonviolence

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