Diverse and Disunited? The Consequences of Immigration for Social Trust in Western Societies

Navn på bevillingshaver

Peter Thisted Dinesen


University of Copenhagen


DKK 849,958




Monograph Fellowships


Can generalized social trust (trust in unknown others)-the social cement that connects individuals across different segments of society-be maintained in the face of increased immigration and the ethnic diversity that follows from it? Synthesizing and expanding on my previous work, the book project addresses this fundamental and highly pertinent question. It articulates the theoretical mechanisms by which immigration may erode social trust, and put each of these to a stringent empirical test using the best-suited data and research designs currently available. The resulting monograph will generate key insights into the consequences of one of the most significant developments of our time as well as provide a richer theoretical understanding of the processes by which trust are formed.


The project speaks directly to one of the most hotly debated issues of our time: can social cohesion-here indicated by social trust-be maintained in the face of increased immigration and the ethnic diversity that follows from it? Despite the obvious relevance, a systematic theoretical account to understand the relationship between ethnic diversity and trust has not yet been developed, and the corresponding empirical evidence has been scattered and not well informed theoretically. Against this backdrop, the monograph seeks to provide a stringent theoretical account for why immigration may erode social trust, and put this to a rigorous empirical test.


Conceptually, I will articulate how I understand generalized social trust-as a belief about the trustworthiness of unknown others-and thereby seek to clarify why most previous conceptualizations have misunderstood or simplified this concept, and thereby, in turn, obscured the purported relationship with ethnic diversity. In the empirical analyses, I draw on a range of Danish and international data on immigrants and natives to shed light on the mechanisms by which ethnic diversity may erode trust.

Tilbage til oversigtssiden