Building, breaking, overriding…? Migrants and institutional trust in the Danish welfare state

Barbara Fersch, Karen Nielsen Breidahl

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Abstract

Purpose: Migrants constitute an interesting case concerning the question of how trust in welfare state institutions can emerge, as one can study their newly built relationships with such institutions in a distinct way. The Danish welfare state can be considered a “high trust” context. Against this background, the purpose of this paper is to provide an analysis of qualitative interviews with migrants on how institutional trust in the welfare state can emerge with migrants in Denmark as a case. Design/methodology/approach: With the help of a multi-dimensional theoretical concept, this paper provides an analysis of qualitative interviews with migrants on how institutional trust in the welfare state can emerge. Findings: A perceived experience of distributive justice appears to be of crucial importance for building trust. Furthermore, strong trust in the systemic checks and balances of the welfare state can “override” negative experiences at its access points, that is, welfare state professionals. Research limitations/implications: Taking into account the relatively limited number of interviews, the presented claims drawn from the empirical material are limited. The aim is to reveal some (new) tendencies that can be investigated in future research. Originality/value: The paper contributes to a deeper understanding of the complexity of trust-generating mechanisms.

Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Sociology and Social Policy
Volume38
Issue number7-8
Pages (from-to)592-605
Number of pages14
ISSN0144-333X
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 9 Jul 2018

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Keywords

  • Experiences
  • Institutional trust
  • Migrants
  • Qualitative
  • Welfare state

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