Institutional Trustworthiness

7 – 8 September 2021


Emanuela Ceva (University of Geneva)

Michele Bocchiola (University of Geneva);

Marta Giunta Martino (University of Geneva)

*All times are British Summer Time (BST)

Date 7 September 2021

Session Number 1: Institutional Trustworthiness

12:00 – 5:30 BST (GMT+1)

“Trustworthy Institutions” – Jörn Wiengarn (University of Cologne)

“Trustworthy Institutions and the Sense of Efficacy” – Andrew Kirton (University of Leeds)

“Institutional Trustworthiness. An endogenous perspective” – Michele Bocchiola, Emanuela Ceva, and Marta Giunta Martino (University of Geneva)


Date 8 September 2021

Session Number 2: Institutional Trustworthiness

12:00 – 5:30 BST (GMT+1)

“Trustworthiness or Institutional Reliability? Exploring a conceptual difference” – Laura Burkhardt (University of Bonn)

“Institutional trustworthiness is political” – Matt Bennett (University of Essex)

“Institutional Vices of Distrust” – Daniella Meehan (University of Glasgow)

What does it mean that a public institution is trustworthy? The contemporary philosophical debate in institutional theory offers two main resources to delineate the contours of institutional trustworthiness. One resource, widely accepted across the social sciences, comes from the competence view of public institutions. Public institutions are defined by their capacity actually to fulfil the function and achieve the purpose for which they were created. In this view, institutional trustworthiness can be investigated by adopting an ‘exogenous perspective’, which analyses the external reactions to institutional functioning and its failure (e.g., citizens’ trust in representative institutions). Another resource comes from looking at public institutions through a deontological lens, which focuses on the normative commitments that model and guide the actions of institutional members. In this view, we access an ‘endogenous perspective’ on institutional trustworthiness, which focuses on the internal reactions of officeholders to institutional functioning and its failure (e.g., officeholders’ disobedience). This panel aims to discuss institutional trustworthiness from a philosophical perspective; analyze its conceptual and normative grounds; compare and contrast various normative views of institutional trustworthiness.

Papers will engage, inter alia, with such themes as:

  • the conceptual links between institutional (dys)functions and institutional trustworthiness;
  • the normative relation between internal answerability practices (e.g. transparency requirements, whistleblowing) and institutional trustworthiness;
  • the difference between responsive and reliable institutions and trustworthy institutions;
  • the relation between institutional trustworthiness and other significant properties of public institutions, such as integrity, accountability, or transparency.

Abstract (500 words max), anonymized for blind review, should be submitted to by 2nd May 2021. Notification of acceptance will be sent within two weeks.
Papers will be pre-circulated 10 days prior to the event. Registration for the conference opens in May. All participants must register in order to attend.

This year’s fees are:
– Academics: £45
– Graduate students, retirees, and unaffiliated attendees: £20
– Non-speaker/non-presenting attendees: £15

Mancept will offer a small number of fee waiver bursaries. The deadline for bursary applications (available to current graduate students only) will be the 15 th June, and successful applicants will be informed by the 22nd June. Only people accepted to present on a panel should apply for bursaries.