Trust and the Performative Construction of Markets

29 Pages Posted: 23 Jan 2015

See all articles by Jens Beckert

Jens Beckert

Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies

Date Written: July 15, 2005


The concept of trust has recently been rediscovered, especially in the fields of economic sociology and organization theory. Nevertheless, the actual functioning of trust in markets has only been understood incompletely up to now. As this paper argues, one reason for this is that conceptualizations of trust have focused primarily on the decision-making process of the trust-giver. The contribution of the trust-taker, however, has not been comprehensively investigated. I propose understanding trust as a tranquilizer in market relations that is partly produced in the situation itself by the performative acts of self-presentation of the trust-taker. On the basis of a taxonomy of four strategies, the final part of the paper demonstrates the consequences that result for the understanding of the functioning of markets from this conceptualization of trust relations.

Keywords: Markets, trust, confidence, performativity, economic sociology, sociology of markets

JEL Classification: D46

Suggested Citation

Beckert, Jens, Trust and the Performative Construction of Markets (July 15, 2005). Available at SSRN: or

Jens Beckert (Contact Author)

Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies ( email )

Paulstr. 3
50676 Koln

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics