New WISERD Working Paper: Trust-transparency paradoxes: proceedings of an international conference

Participants at the Lyon conference

WISERD’s latest working paper outlines the  main  proceedings  of  an  international  conference  held  at Sciences Po Lyon, France, on 4 May 2018.  The symposium and subsequent working paper was led by Professor Alistair Cole (Professeur de Science Politique, Directeur du pôle Stratégie et partenariats internationaux, Sciences Po, Lyon and WISERD). The new publication pulls together several research initiatives around the central theme of trust-transparency paradoxes.

Trust (and mistrust) lies at the heart of contemporary debates regarding governance and  democracy. Key debates focus  on  whether  the  level  of  trust  in  democracy  is  rising  or  falling  over  time  and  the  extent  to  which citizen  trust  is  a  prerequisite for  good  democratic  government. Problems  of  democratic  deficit,  of  the  misfit between  politics  and  policy,  and  of  political  corruption  apparently  undermine  trust  in  politicians  and underpin  the  emergence  in  most  EU  polities  of  forms  of  populist  party  responses.

This new working paper engages with recent research suggesting that while  the  public  has  confidence  in democracy  as  a  concept,  many  do  not  trust  government  and  the  way democracy  is  currently  being implemented. Despite  calls  for  more  citizen  involvement  in  decision-making,  however,  citizen  engagement and  satisfaction  rates  are  declining. There is  a  strong  and  growing  demand  for  more  diverse  and  effective forms  of  citizen  engagement to  increase  levels  of  trust  and  engage  an  increasingly  diverse,  busy  and complex  urban  population.

The working paper is an output of the international collaboration between the TRIANGLE, the main Lyon-based social science research laboratory, and WISERD, the research institute representing the leading social science cluster of Welsh universities. The new publication presents the following eleven chapters authored by a series of leading academics:

  • Trust-transparency paradoxes: Evidence from the French regions – Jeanne Chauvel, Alistair Cole and Romain Pasquier;
  • Trust-transparency dynamics in the UK and Germany – Ian Stafford and Dominic Heinz;
  • Trust and transparency in media discourses: Paradoxical representations of the glyphosate controversy – Lise Jaquet, Isabelle Garcin-Moreau and Simon Gadras
  • Europe’s ambivalent transparency – Cécile Robert
  • Trust, territoriality and third sector engagement in policy-making and welfare provision: Exploring the trust pathologies of welfare pluralism – Paul Chaney and Christala Sophocleous
  • Mobilising business in favour of the Aix-Marseille-Provence metropolis (2007–2016) – Christophe Parnet
  • The role of political alienation in the UK’s Brexit vote – Stuart Fox
  • Restructuring the state: Mid-level bureaucrats between loss of autonomy and empowerment – Julien Barrier and Olivier Quéré
  • The changing frontiers of the state and civil society in education: A comparative analysis of France and Wales – Sally Power, Chris Taylor, Daniel Franji and Philippe Vitale
  • Education, cities and partnerships in France and England – Renaud Morel
  • Accountable and/or responsible? School accountability and its forum: Elements from a France–Quebec comparison – Hélène Buisson-Fenet


Download the full working paper:



Pictured above, from left to right: Stuart Fox (Cardiff University, WISERD), Jerome Reneaudin (National Federation of Disabled-friendly Companies), Paul Chaney (Cardiff University, WISERD), Benedicte Ollaigne (Life Coach), Sally Power (Cardiff University, WISERD), Christophe Parnet (Sciences Po Lyon, TRIANGLE), Dominic Heinz (Cardiff University, WISERD), Thibault Riouffreyt (TRIANGLE), Caroline Ancely (Editorial Assistant), Hélène Buisson-Fenet (École normale supérieur, CNRS, TRIANGLE), Alistair Cole (Sciences Po Lyon, TRIANGLE, WISERD), Isabelle Garcin-Moreau (Sciences Po Lyon, ELICO), Simon Gadras (University of Lyon 2, ELICO), Cécile Robert (Sciences Po Lyon, TRIANGLE), Olivier Quéré (TRIANGLE), Jeanne Chauvel (Sciences Po Rennes, ARENES), Daniel Franji (École normale supérieur, TRIANGLE), Ian Rees Jones (Cardiff University, WISERD), Thomas Scapin (Sciences Po Lyon, TRIANGLE), Ian Stafford (Cardiff University, WISERD).