Biblioteca Virtuala de Cultura Politica "Regele Ferdinand" (v 1.0)


Continut / Contents                              

Cultura politica / Political Culture

“THUS FAR WE have concentrated upon one aspect of political systems: that which we call political culture. The bulk of this book has dealt with the similarities and differences in the patterns of political attitudes found in the five nations. We have attempted to describe these similarities and differences as well as to explain them; to relate political attitudes to the structure of politics and to general attitudes toward people and society. In all this the political culture has been the focus of our attention. When other aspects of the political system have been brought into the discussion, it has usually been because of their impact on the political culture. But an important question remains to be dealt with: what is the impact of a political culture on the political system of which it is a part?”

Almond & Verba (1963) 

Ch.XIII: The Civic Culture and Democratic Stability, p. 337, in: 

Almond & Verba (1963) The Civic Culture: Political Attitudes and Democracy in Five Nations

Sage Publications Inc.

“The term ‘political culture’ will be more assertive when it will be explained in the realm of politics. So it means that within a group and society there are diverse strands of opinion and conflicting values which may check the political preferences and in this regard the term political culture will not only be used as shared values legitimizing social practices but as points of concern also. Gabriel Almond has described political culture as underlying propensities and psychological dimension of a political system. It consists of attitudes, beliefs, values and skills which are current in an entire population, as well as those special propensities and patterns which may be found within separate parts of that population. Any political system requires knowing its underlying propensities as well as actual performance over a given period of time, so that nature of the system and patterns of behavior could be identified. All political systems tend to perpetuate their cultures and structures through the time, and they do this by means of socializing influences of the primary and secondary structures through which society may pass in the process of maturity. According to Almond and Verba, ‘it is thus a process [political socialization] by which political cultures are maintained and changed’[…].”

                Pye, L.W.(1965)

Chapter 1-Introduction: Political Culture and Political Development (pp. 3-26), in: 

Lucian W. Pye and Sidney Verba (Eds.), Political Culture and Political Development

Volume 5 in the Studies in Political Development Series. Originally published in 1965. 

Princeton University Press.

“[…]the transition of the post-communist states in East and Central Europe is of special interest. After the collapse of communism, the evident question was how these states would adapt to the newly found liberal democracy and the free-market economy. Would the “new contract” Gorbachev had pronounced be accepted or would the old socialistic justice beliefs stay in place? In spite of the material hardships caused by the transition, would political support for the new system remain strong enough or would it be affected by economic distress? This had been a central question of political culture research long before it could be studied under the conditions of post-communist transition societies (Diamond, 1992). Although quite a few sociologists follow Lipset (1959) in his proposal that system support, the endorsement of democracy, is a function of economic development, others have taken strong sides in claiming the necessity of an independent political culture safeguarding democracy also in times of unfavorable economic development. In fact, according to this culturalist point of view, democracy will only survive if collective political support rests on democratic values.

           Although the basic rule of the culturalist credo is that “culture matters,” most culturalists would also agree to three propositions that follow: First, culturalists regard a society as functioning well only if its institutional structure is congruent with the shared values of its members (Almond and Verba, 1963; Parsons, 1971) and second, associated with this assumption, they believe that individual actors are motivated mainly by cultural orientations, not by instrumental and adaptive impulses; that is, their behavior is guided more by norms than by rational choice. Third, cultural orientations are the product of a shared socialization history constituting an integral part of a person’s social identity that is fairly resistant to change. Thus, it may take generations before a system of cultural values is modified noticeably.” 

Bernd Wegener (2000) 

Political Culture and Post-Communist Transition – 

A Social Justice Approach: Introduction, Arbeitsbericht Nr. 69, 

Institut für Sozialwissenschaften Humboldt-Universität Berlin.

             "The most basic assumption of the political culture paradigm suggests that the orientations, beliefs, and values prevailing among a population constitute a crucial determinant of the type of political system by which a given population is governed. This axiom has been formulated more than 2300 years ago by Aristotle (ca. 350 BC/1984) in Book IV of The Politics. In this opus Aristotle argued that democracies are typically found in middle-class dominated societies in which an egalitarian worldview is predominant among the citizens. Here we find the classical formulation of a two-step causal process in which (1) the social structures characterizing a given population make certain beliefs predominant among its members; and then (2) these beliefs make specific types of political systems accepted and considered legitimate. Thus, there is a sequence from social structures to subjective beliefs to the legitimacy of political institutions. This sequence provides an early theory to explain the origins of dictatorship and democracy: hierarchical social structures lead to authoritarian beliefs under which dictatorship becomes the legitimate form of government; horizontal social structures lead to egalitarian beliefs under which democracy becomes the legitimate form of government (Nolan and Lenski, 1999). In a modern version we find this model outlined in more detail in the work of Huntington (1991: 69)."

Christian Welzel (2009) 
Chapter 16; “Political Culture,” in:
T. Landman, N. Robinson (Eds.),
Sage Handbook of Comparative Politics,
London: Sage, pp.299-318

              "The concept of political culture is concurrently among the most celebrated and the most contested in political science. Although it has long been a staple of political analysis, the concept has excited controversy virtually from the moment it was imported from other disciplines. Over the years, the concept has attracted widespread criticism and generated considerable debate from both without and within. Among scholars working outside the tradition, the concept of political culture (and of culture more generally) has been attacked in various ways as a throwback to discredited ideas about national character or racial stereotypes (Abu-Lughod, 1999), as circular or tautological,' or as nothing more than a statistical error term (Erickson, McIver and Wright 1987; Aldrich, Sullivan and Borgida 1989) -the residual that cannot be explained by institutional structure and individual behaviour. Internally, as well, advocates of the concept contest not only the nature and meaning of political culture but also its measurement and distribution and its relationship, if any, to a variety of other important concepts including economic development and democracy. It is difficult to restore value and meaning to a concept that has long suffered from such abuse. The temptation is simply to abandon the concept and the baggage it carries and to go searching for other concepts that might be less value-laden and emotionally charged. Indeed, a number of political scientists have done precisely this, choosing to drop the language of culture and to focus instead on concepts such as political attitudes and values, public opinion, political behavior, or even political rituals and symbols.' Nevertheless, the concept of culture has demonstrated remarkable tenacity. It has weathered intense criticism and not only survived but mounted an impressive comeback over the past decade (see, for example, such studies as Englehart, 1990, Putnam, 1993, or Diamond, 1999). Indeed, Eckstein (1988: 789) goes so far as to argue that `Political culture theory may plausibly be considered one of two still viable general approaches to political theory and explanation proposed since the early 1950s . . . the other being political rational choice theory'. Clearly, the popularity of the concept and its resilience in the face of persistent and intense criticism support the value of continuing efforts to come to terms with the concept and to achieve a better understanding of its meanings and potential applications."

William Mishler and Detlef Pollack (2003)
Chapter 13: "On Culture, Thick and Thin. Toward a Neo-Cultural Synthesis", in: 
Pollack D., Jacobs J., Müller O., Pickel G. (Eds.), 
Political Culture în Post-Comunist Europe: Attitudes in new democracies,
 Aldershot: Ashgate.