There is a crisis of trust in the neoliberal world. Is trust ending, or have we learned to trust in new ways? This thesis conducts an historical genealogy of trust practices across the early modern era, classical liberalism, the welfare state, and neoliberalism. This genealogy reveals that neoliberal trust practices are neither natural nor determined, and that we can inform how we trust in light of our past. This investigation finds that the neoliberal self has little capacity for trust beyond the present moment. Neoliberal trust practices, including auditing, skill learning, risk management, and emotional reasoning, are placed on the market, an unpredictable and erratic force that compels individuals to seek stability and security in isolation from others rather than with others. These attempts to gain security, however, tend to slide towards suspicion, distrust, and alienation. Three ethical implications are discussed regarding the impact of neoliberal trust practices on the therapeutic relationship.
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Thesis advisor: Sugarman, Jeff
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