Germans' Transnational Contact and Trust in Other Nations; A Methodologically Cosmopolitan Approach

in German Politics and Society
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This article considers Germans' relationships with other nations from a perspective of methodological cosmopolitanism. It examines the claim that everincreasing contacts with members of different nations can bring about a sense of trust in these nations. Using data from a 2006 opinion poll, it analyzes Germans' contact with and trust in six other nations. The study suggests that Germany as a whole is too large as a level of analysis. Germans' transnational relationships are better examined at a subnational level such as political districts. It is shown that transnational contact is particularly likely to occur in border regions and in parts of Germany with a high proportion of foreign residents. The two types of contact, however, have a differential effect on Germans' trust in other nations. Cross-border contact appears to be influenced by Germany's long-standing relationships with its western allies, since such contact has a positive effect on trust in western nations but not eastern ones. Conversely, multicultural contact with immigrant communities has a generally positive effect on levels of trust in other nations.