Dr. Hu Anning is Professor of Sociology at Fudan University. His research interests include social inequality, education, religion, trust, culture, and social research methods. Dr. Hu has published over 60 academic articles and two monographs, with research appearing in major sociological outlets, such as British Journal of Sociology, Social Science Research, Journal of Marriage and Family, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences，Research in Social Stratification and Mobility, Demographic Research, Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, Sociological Quarterly, and The China Quarterly. Dr. Hu is the winner of several national and municipal awards, such as the Young Yangtze Scholar, Ten Thousand People Plan Young Talent, Shanghai Leading Scholar, Shanghai Shuguang Scholar, Shanghai Chenguang Scholar, and Shanghai Young Scholar of Social Sciences. His studies have won the Shanghai Outstanding Social Sciences Research Award and Shanghai Top Ten Social Sciences Paper Award.
Moderating Culture’s Effect: Orientation toward Authority, Schematic Categorization of Governments, and Heterogeneous Government Trust
The sociocultural approach to explaining the puzzling high trust of government in authoritarian societies emphasizes trust-promoting cultural values and norms. In this scholarship, one understudied theme is whether or not culture––often viewed to be fundamental, overarching, and far-reaching––affects trust in the governments of different administrative levels homogeneously, and if not, how we can explain heterogeneous patterns of the culture-trust nexus. Drawing on ideas from cognitive and cultural sociology, this study argues that citizens have different schematic categorizations of governments in their consciousness. These schemas jointly result in a heterogeneous pattern per the association between culture and government trust. This is empirically tested on survey data collected in China, a country characterized by a Confucian orientation toward authority and hierarchical structure of government trust. It is shown, respectively for urban and rural residents, that there are several recognizable schemas of clustering governments. For each schema, a specific pattern of association between the cultural orientation toward authority and confidence in government is detected, and these schema-specific patterns result in overall heterogeneous correlations between culture and government trust. Exposure to mass media is found to promote citizens’ tendency to impose cognitive boundaries among governments instead of viewing governments indiscriminately. This study highlights the role of cognitive processing in moderating the correlation between cultural norms and political outcomes.