- Slides: 13
Political Culture Dec. 1
Political Culture “The orientation of the citizens of a nation [or political community] towards politics, and their perceptions of political legitimacy and the traditions of political practice. Set of values, attitudes, and beliefs related to state authority and the political system. ” - from textbook glossary o
Political Culture o o “When we speak of the political culture of a society, we refer to the political system as internalized in the cognitions, feelings, and evaluations of its population. People are induced into it just as they are socialized into nonpolitical roles and social systems” (Almond and Verba, 1963: 14). Cognitive orientations include knowledge and beliefs about the political system. Affective orientations involve feelings about the system, such as attachment, or lack thereof. Evaluative orientations involve judgments and opinions about the system.
Political Culture o o o is meant to refer to core values of a society in relation to political and economic issues, rather than short-term or ephemeral opinions about politics. There may be significant variations within a given political community. Political culture tends to be a ‘slippery’ or imprecise concept.
Studying political culture o o Various political scientists have studied political cultures in the attempt to explain economic development and/or the establishment and stabilization of liberal democracy. It is used as an alternative explanation to more ‘structural’ forms of analysis such as Marxism.
Significance of political culture o o o What matters most? political culture or class structure? Do institutions (political, social, economic) shape values and beliefs, or do values and beliefs shape institutions? What factors determine or shape public policy? ideas, interests, institutions?
Max Weber The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, 1905. Weber related the rise of capitalism to the existence of the Protestant religion in certain sections of Europe. Protestant religious and social values facilitated the development of capitalism.
The Civic Culture: Political Attitudes and Democracy in Five Nations by Gabriel Almond and Sidney Verba, 1963. Conducted analyzed survey data from US, UK, West Germany, Italy and Mexico. They pointed to three kinds of political culture: 1. 2. 3. parochial political cultures (low expectations and awareness of political system) subject political cultures (individuals are aware but do not participate) participant political cultures (individuals are active and involved in the political system)
The critique of the Civic Culture o o o o The book was highly acclaimed as a breakthrough, inspiring further studies along the same lines. On the other hand, its analysis and approach came under attack by the late 60 s and into the 70 s. limits of methodology lack of structural analysis ethnocentric (or pro-American bias) vagueness of the political culture concept lack of explanatory power
Making Democracy Work by Robert Putnam, 1993 Putnam looks at the kind of political culture that sustains democracy, emphasizing “trust”, the vibrancy of civil society, social networks and social capital.
Ronald Inglehart The Silent Revolution: Changing Values and Political Styles among Western Publics, 1977. Culture Shift in Advanced Industrial Society, 1990. Based on extensive public opinion survey data, Inglehart argues that the political cultures of advanced capitalist societies shifted in the postwar period toward post-materialist values.
The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order by Samuel Huntington, 1996. Huntington argues that in the newly emergent post-Cold War era, the major struggles would be between cultures or civilizations (rather than economic systems).
Political Culture o o o Cultural (or political culture) analysis and explanations remain common yet controversial. It can often be reduced to stereotypes or forms of essentialism. The cultural variable remains hard to entirely dismiss, but on the other hand, its overall explanatory value is limited.