“Here in New Zealand, I Feel more Comfortable Trusting People”: A Critical Realist Exploration of the Causes of Trust among Koreans Living in Auckland, New Zealand

“Here in New Zealand, I Feel more Comfortable Trusting People”: A Critical Realist Exploration of the Causes of Trust among Koreans Living in Auckland, New Zealand
Lynne Soon-Chean Park

Summary

This thesis examines the causes of trust phenomena as observed among Koreans living in Auckland, New Zealand: whether the inherited cultural disposition from their (or their parents’) low-trust home country, Korea, or the experiences in the high-trust destination country, New Zealand, defines or shapes their trust experiences, respectively. Qualitative data, including thirty-four individual interviews and five focus group interviews, were collected and analysed with the guidance of critical realism as a philosophical and methodological framework. The findings of this study establish that manifested trust phenomena among Koreans are influenced by their experiences in New Zealand by identifying generative social structures that shape the observed trust phenomena. First of all, the causal social structures of New Zealand (characterised as being open, supportive, relaxed, and fair) shape the positively expressed generalised trust; and integrity, respect, and contribution to the host society are identified as trustworthiness beliefs in the wider context of New Zealand. Secondly, the generative social structures that operate within the Korean community (characterised as being unstable, heterogeneous, close-knit, and unfair) influence the negatively suggested co-ethnic trust. Meanwhile, commonality, integrity, benevolent intention, and good reputation are identified as trustworthiness beliefs in the narrow context of the Korean community. These findings suggest that trust experiences among the Korean immigrants are subject to change over time depending on their experiences in New Zealand, especially the perceived fairness in their social interactions. Given the concern whether immigrants from low-trust societies may cause a threat to the social cohesion by decreasing the level of generalised trust in immigrants-receiving countries, this study provides meaningful implications for host countries that generalised trust among immigrants can be developed by their sense of safety based on their social interactions in the host societies.

Author

Lynne Soon-Chean Park

Defended in

2020

PhD defended at

University of Auckland

Specialisation

Social Sciences

Region

Global Asia (Asia and other parts of the World)

Theme

Diasporas and Migration