Press Release
November 15, 2022

Exploring the Loss of Trust in Institutions and Experts – Fall 2022 Issue of Daedalus


The Fall 2022 issue of Dædalus, the journal of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, is focused on "Institutions, Experts & the Loss of Trust." The guest editors for the issue are Henry E. Brady and Kay Lehman Schlozman. The volume's introduction and 13 essays are online in their entirety, as part of the Academy's commitment to making ideas and information widely available.

The issue brings new information and understanding to the loss of trust in institutions and experts across American life - including elections, health care, the military, public safety, and religion.

Waning confidence in Congress is nothing new. More novel is how partisan polarization maps onto distrust of institutions once considered nonpolitical, including those that cultivate and disseminate knowledge, enforce the law, protect our health, and uphold social and religious norms. But does this matter? What is the right amount of trust to put in institutions whose leaders are fallible, sometimes even criminal?

The Fall 2022 issue of Dædalus explores the causes and consequences of the loss of confidence in these institutions and the people who lead them. Over just the past three years, resistance to public health guidance about COVID-19, demonstrations against police violence and racism, and the violent rejection of the results of the 2020 presidential election have brought into bold relief the importance of institutions to our personal and societal health. Can this loss of confidence be reversed? Can we rely upon institutions to confront shared challenges like climate change?

This Dædalus issue is made possible, in part, by a generous gift from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, which supports a more effective democracy in America by investing in journalism, community, arts, and research in the areas of media and democracy.

All the essays are online.

Henry E. Brady & Kay Lehman Schlozman

The Discontents of Truth & Trust in 21st Century America
Sheila Jasanoff

Fifty Years of Declining Confidence & Increasing Polarization in Trust in American Institutions
Henry E. Brady & Thomas B. Kent

Trust in Medicine, the Health System & Public Health
Robert J. Blendon & John M. Benson

American Trust in Science & Institutions in the Time of COVID-19
C. Ross Hatton, Colleen L. Barry, Adam S. Levine, Emma E. McGinty & Hahrie Han

From Anti-Government to Anti-Science: Why Conservatives Have Turned Against Science
Naomi Oreskes & Erik M. Conway

Networked Trust & the Future of Media
Lee Rainie

What Does “Trust in the Media” Mean?
Michael Schudson

Trust & Models of Policing
Tracey L. Meares

Race & Political Trust: Justice as a Unifying Influence on Political Trust
Cary Wu, Rima Wilkes & David C. Wilson

Religion, Democracy & the Task of Restoring Trust
Robert Wuthnow

Trustworthy Government: The Obligations of Government & the Responsibilities of the Governed
Margaret Levi

Trust in Elections
Charles Stewart III

Specific Sources of Trust in Generals: Individual-Level Trust in the U.S. Military
Max Margulies & Jessica Blankshain