Complexities of Trust in Youth Organizations

Desiree Diaz Carrascoso & Maggie Sue Rosendale

Studenteropgave: Speciale


The aim of this report is to highlight the ways trust practices shape organizations that work with youth in an ‘especially vulnerable’ area in Sweden. Organizations in ‘vulnerable’ neighborhoods have a relationship with each other and share a motivation to help youth. While trusting is inherent in organizations, it is overlooked as a contributor and effector of their work. Relationships between organizations and youth are based on trust, but the complexity and pervasiveness of trust is rarely considered. This is particularly the case in relation to spatial and material elements, which contribute to and are shaped by trust. Therefore, this report explores how trust shapes the practices of youth organizations.

Trust is examined through a practice theory lens. We recognize that trusting is not a practice such as running, as it is primarily a mental activity. However, we still find practice theory to be useful in understanding trusting. It provides a way to understand social phenomena through the elements that make it up. These elements include materials, meanings, competencies and temporalities. While these categories are a simplification, they provide a way to analyse trust in different circumstances through a common vocabulary. Furthermore, we use it as a way to understand the connections between elements and practices.

Research is carried out through ethnographic methods. One ‘vulnerable’ area in Sweden is used as the case to investigate trust. Our focus is on youth organizations that work in the area and offer structured or semi-structured activities. We make use of semi-structured interviews with leaders within the youth organizations and observe the activities or programs they conduct with the youth. We move between zooming in and out, where we focus on the individual leaders, but also consider them within the larger organization. Furthermore, we consider trust between organizations and the contextual aspect of trust.

We find that, in the case we study, trusting is complex, multiple and simultaneously occurring. Within organizations, trust, and subsequently mistrust, are shaped by both different and shared elements. Trust is connected to and built on many practices. We give special consideration to material elements because they are the most overlooked when studying trusting. Trust is influencing and influenced by material and spatial elements. Particularly when trust is connected to space, there is an influence on the work of the organizations. This influence, while at times is beneficial, at other times it hinders the work of these organizations in regards to the youth of the area. Therefore, trust needs to be considered in organizational work in ‘vulnerable’ areas.

UddannelserSpatial Design and Society, (Bachelor/kandidatuddannelse) Kandidat
Udgivelsesdato3 jun. 2019
Antal sider74
VejledereMikkel Bille