Using insights about in-group and intergroup dynamics from social identity theory and sociology, we studied trust dynamics in intergroup relations in the Baviaanskloof (South Africa) over time. We conclude that in-group interpretations of intergroup interactions contribute to the lack of trust and ongoing reconstruction of distrust towards the other group. Constructions of group identities and group history reinforce differences between groups, shaping expectations about the behaviour of in-group and out-group members. In this process, seemingly unrelated past events and contextual changes were connected as uncontested arguments as to why the other group could not be trusted. The lack of trust and growing distrust stabilised group dynamics and thus distrust towards the other group. These inter- and in-group dynamics explain why adapting to major environmental changes, and future collaboration becomes more difficult in conflict situations.
De Vries, J.R., Aarts, N., Lokhorst, A.M., Beunen, R., Oude Munnink, J. (2014): Trust related dynamics in contested land use: A longitudinal study towards trust and distrust in intergroup conflicts in the Baviaanskloof, South Africa. Online first.