National and regional backgrounds influence levels of trust in authorities


Furthermore, citizens' trust in authorities appeared also to be strongly affected by their national or regional background: several participants with a migration background from South-Eastern Europe and Russia explained their strong trust in German authorities with their distrust towards the authorities in their country of origin. Other participants who grew up or lived in Israel for an extended period of time described their experience of a stronger “closeness” between citizens and police forces as shaping their trust. Accordingly, it cannot be assumed that groups of the population with a non-native background will, in any case, distrust authorities in a disaster situation. On the one hand, this may be likely for recent migrants with still very “fresh” experiences of rejection, corruption and/or coming from war-torn countries. On the other hand, migrants or expatriates who have settled and strongly identify themselves with their new home and the new environment may, through their increased level of trust in authorities, be of particular help as informal liaison persons who can mediate between affected citizens and disaster managers. An additionally contributing factor in this context may also be the identified cultural practice of assigning positive values (e.g. neighbourhood help) from their country of origin to their new host country.

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