- Slides: 27
Canadian Political Culture
Political Culture The sum total of the politically relevant values, beliefs, attitudes and orientations in a society. n It’s the feelings people have toward the overall community. n – – Patriotism Nationalism Pride Attitude toward the country or province.
Political Culture and the State n. A second component of political culture is the beliefs regarding the role of the state. n Also includes orientations to the decisionmaking apparatus. n Issues include – Trust in institutions – Participation in politics
Political Culture n Political culture also includes popular stereotypes. n Sydney Verba and Gabriel Almond found that there are three basic categories of political culture. – Parochial – Subject – participatory.
Parochial n People do not expect any positive action from government n Perceive government as a police officer and tax collector. n Public wish to keep distance from themselves and the government. n Do not expect public participation
Subject Culture n Some expectation of positive action from governments. n Do not see themselves involved in politics n Questions of what governments should do are to be decided by people with influence and power.
Participatory Culture n High expectations of government n Expect the public to participate in politics – Choose leaders – Influence political action n Integral part of liberal democracy. – Substantial consensus on the legitimacy of political institutions and direction of public policy – Widespread tolerance of plurality of interests. – Widely distributed sense of political competence.
Why examine Political Culture? n The question Almond and Verba were trying to answer is: – How do we create stable democratic regimes? – This question emanated from the WWII experience. – The underlying theme is to avoid the collapse of democracy as was seen in Italy and Germany.
Almond and Verba’s answer n Stability rests with attitudes of citizens n Culture matters as institutional relations are not enough. n Stability is fostered by encouraging attitudes in which the “self” is an important actor. n Political culture also gives order and meaning to a political process n That provides the underlying assumption and rules that government behaviour in the political system.
Almond and Verba’s Model Political Culture Socialization Transmission Political Behaviour Attitudes Beliefs Values
Political Culture n Culture is the living patterns of a people. – The place of the family – The role of the religion – The influence of economics and politics n Used as an umbrella term that includes institutional arrangements as well as – Attitudes – Beliefs – Orientation to politics
Traditional Canadian Political Culture n Democracy – Popular Sovereignty: people have a final say in who will be elected officials. – Popular sovereignty is limited to elections, few referenda have occurred in Canada § 1898: prohibition § 1942: conscription § 1992: Charlottetown Accord – Elections are periodic
Traditional Canadian Political Culture n Political Equality – One person, one vote n Political Freedom – Conscience & religion – Thought, belief, opinion, expression, freedom of the press. – Peaceful assembly – Freedom of association
Traditional Canadian Political Culture n Majority Rule – The large number takes precedence over the smaller number. – Minority rights, however, are protected. – Charter rights § Women § Visible minorities § Aboriginals
What are Canadian values? n Not America? n American culture: – Life, liberty & the pursuit of happiness n Canadian culture: – Peace, order & good government. n Lipset: Continental Divide – Canada, class-aware, elitist, law-abiding, statist, collectivity-oriented, and group-oriented.
The Fragment Theory n Formulated by Louis Hartz. n Colonial societies such as the U. S. and Canada originated as fragments of larger European society. n American origins were as an act of revolution against Great Britain. n Therefore, individual freedom and suspicion of government informs the political culture of the U. S.
The Fragment Theory n Canadian origins were French settlers of Acadia and New France n Canada never had a rebellion against Britain. n Canada also includes the Loyalists who were refugees from the American revolution. n Because of these differences in origins, Hartz argues that Canada is more – Corporatist – Collectivist – Deferential
Trends in Political Culture n Post-materialism has an influence on political culture. n New generations have a different relationship with governments than their predecessors. n These have consequences – Lower voter turnout – Decrease in party loyalty – Single issue movements.
Canadian Values? n n n Individualism Particularism and tolerance Deference to authority Egalitarianism Caution, diffidence, dependence, and nonviolence
Canadian Cultural Themes Elitism: pattern of decision making in which “small groups of people exercise considerable power” n Elitist view argues that Canadians are deferential to authority. n
Regionalism n The diversity of geographic factors and economic concerns that are politically important and perceived by members of the political system.
Dualism impact and relationship of the major cultural groups of French and English. n This means that both cultures and languages are protected, no matter the cost. n
Continentalism impact of external factors such as the US impact on Canadian politics. n Not only are we linked economically, but many forces at work in the US filter to Canada. n
Popular Canadian Myths n How do we define ourselves as Canadians? – Less crime in Canada than in the U. S. – Canadians speak more softly than Americans. – Canadians are more polite – More tolerant – Have more respect for authority.
Changing Political Culture n Direct democracy – – – n Referendum Initiative Recall Populism – Politicians should reflect the opinions of their constituencies.
Subcultures n Regional and Provincial subcultures n Ethnic subcultures n Class subcultures n Other subcultures – Age cohort – Post-materialism
Political Participation n Political efficacy: sense of political competence and a feeling that one can have impact on the system. n Electoral Participation – Voting – Joining political parties – Join voluntary groups