Giddens begins this section of the book talking about trust. He specifically focuses on Luhmann’s views on trust. Giddens doesn’t think Luhmann’s take on trust is helpful to link the notion of trust to the specific circumstances in which individuals consciously contemplate alternative courses of action. What made that individual make that decision? Is he or she in a situation that forced them to take a certain course of action over another? Those are some questions that Giddens believes cannot be answered by Luhmann’s view on trust. Giddens argues that trust is a form of confidence; they are not different. There is a need for trust because of the absence of time and space. “The prime condition of requirements for trust is not lack of power but lack of full information” (33). You wouldn’t need to engage in trust if everything happened right in front of you. Since things are happening all around the world due to globalization, there are things that you don’t know which force you to put your trust into other people and expert systems.
Disembedding systems depend on trust. Let’s say you are shopping online and order clothes from a website. You have to trust the expert systems that are involved in getting you your clothes. What Giddens doesn’t really go into though is what happens when trust fails. What if your clothes never arrive? Then what? One explanation could be that there was a flaw in the expert systems that were designed to get you your clothes. Also what must be done for you to gain that trust back?
Giddens begins to explain that modernity and tradition are contrasts of each other. This makes sense seeing as how modernity is defined as the development of modern scientific worldviews and the termination of tradition. But you can’t sanction a principle because it is traditional. Tradition can be justified but only with knowledge that is not traditional itself. Because of this, tradition continues to play a big role in modernized societies.
Giddens defines post-modernism as “styles or movements within literature, painting, the plastic arts, and architecture” (45). Basically post-modernism is something different and moves away from the ways of modernity and towards a new type of social order. Giddens argues that post-modernity does not exist. “To speak of post-modernity as superseding modernity appears to invoke that very thing which is declared (now) to be impossible: giving some coherence to history and pinpointing our place in it” (47). He believes it is too difficult to understand history and declare what place we are in history, which is why it is impractical to say that we are in post-modernity. We have not moved beyond modernity but are living through a phase of it.