Room: 
Room J, City Hall
Time Slot: 
Wednesday 28th March 15:30 - 17:00
Panel Chair: 
  • Dr Sioned Pearce (Cardiff University)
Panel Members: 
  • Dr Ian Stafford (Cardiff University)
  • Professor Alistair Cole (Sciences Po Lyon)
  • Dr Dominic Heinz (University of Cardiff)

The decline of trust has become a dominant narrative within both the contemporary academic literature and the media. The 2017 Edelman Trust Barometer (2017, p.2), for example, reported a ‘global implosion of trust’ and linked this trend with the rise of populism within Western Europe and the United States, warning that ‘as trust in institutions erodes, the basic assumptions of fairness, shared values and equal opportunity traditionally upheld by “the system” are no longer taken for granted.’ There is a strong and growing demand for more diverse and effective forms of citizen engagement to increase levels of trust and engage an increasingly diverse, busy and complex urban population. Transparency is sometimes offered as a remedy to tackle the problems that ostensibly produce such distrust, but understandings of transparency are deeply ambivalent. The panel explores these processes of trust and transparency within the context of multi-level governance by drawing together papers comparing regional- and city level dynamics in three key European states: the UK, France and Germany. In each state, the research focuses on one strong identity region (Wales, Brittany, Hesse), and one ‘instrumental’ region (North-West England, Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes, Saxony-Anhalt); this comparative mix allows logically for varying identities, institutional configurations and resource profiles to be captured. The papers report preliminary findings of a major new funded research project (French National Research Agency [ANR]; UK Economic and Social Research Council, [ESRC]), involving a mass survey, interview panels based on a purposive interview sample and focus groups.