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Political Culture and Socialization (System Level)

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1 Political Culture and Socialization (System Level)
Introduction to Comparative Politics

2 Political Culture and Political Socialization
Each nation has its own political norms that influence how people think and act about politics. The way political institutions function at least partially reflects the public’s attitudes, norms, and expectations. Political culture: public attitudes toward politics and their role within the political system Political socialization: how individuals form their political attitudes and collectively, how citizens form their political culture; we conclude by describing the major trends in political culture in the world politics today Major tends in political cultures of states will be final concern


4 Mapping the Three Levels of Political Culture
A nation’s political culture includes its citizens’ orientations at three levels: The political system The political and policymaking process Policy outputs and outcomes

5 Mapping the Three Levels of Political Culture
The system level involves how people view the values and organizations that comprise the political system. The process level includes expectations of how politics should function and individuals’ relationship to the political process. The policy level deals with the public’s policy expectations for the government.

6 The System Level It is difficult for any political system to endure if it lacks the support of its citizens. Feelings of national pride are considered an affective, emotional tie to a political system. When system legitimacy is high the belief that the law ought to be obeyed is high.


8 The System Level Feelings of popular legitimacy are another foundation for a successful political system. Citizens may grant legitimacy to a government for different reasons. Tradition, ideology, elections, or religion In systems with low legitimacy, people often resort to violence or extra-governmental actions to solve political disagreements.

9 The Process Level The second level of the political culture involves what the public expects of the political process. Broadly speaking, three different patterns describe the citizens’ role in the political process. Participants are involved as actual or potential participants in the political process. Subjects passively obey government officials and the law, but they do not vote or actively involve themselves in politics. Parochials are hardly aware of government and politics.

10 Political Culture: Process Level
What people expect of the political process Participation (equal access vs privileged access) Transparency Corruption as an issue

11 Political Culture: Process Level
Attitudes toward the existing form of government Representative and direct democracy as competing political regimes in Venezuela Rejection of western-style (secular) democracy by fundamentalist Muslims How citizens view their political roles


13 The Policy Level What is the appropriate role of government?
Policy expectations vary across the globe. Some policy goals such as economic well-being are valued by nearly everyone. Variation in terms of what is expected relates to a nation’s circumstances and cultural traditions. One of the basic measures of government performance is its ability to meet the policy expectations of its citizens. Expectations regarding the functioning of government: outputs (providing welfare and security) or process features (rule of law and procedural justice)


15 Consensual or Conflictual Political Cultures
When a country is deeply divided in its political values and these differences persist over time, distinctive political subcultures may develop. They have sharply different points of view on some critical political matters, such as the boundaries of the nation, the nature of the regime, or the correct ideology. Sometimes historical or social factors will generate different cultural trajectories. Ethnic, religious, or linguistic identities Migration

16 Why Culture Matters Political culture
Cultural norms typically change slowly and reflect stable values. It encapsulates the history, traditions, and values of a society. Congruence theory The distribution of cultural patterns is typically related to the type of political process that citizens expect and support. Do democracies create a participatory democratic public, or does a political culture lead to a democratic political system? It works both ways. Political culture can build common political community, but it can also have the power to divide.

17 Cultural Congruence OVER TIME THERE IS A CONGRUENCE BETWEEN POLITICAL CULTURE AND POLITICAL STRUCTURE Value placed on responsiveness/openness leads to: Direct election of senators Agencies to provide information on previously classified activities Longer democracy lasts and more successes that it has the more support there is for democracy

18 Political Socialization
Political cultures are sustained or changed as people acquire their attitudes and values. Political socialization refers to the way in which political values are formed and political culture is transmitted from one generation to the next. Most children acquire their basic political values and behavior patters at a relatively early age. Some attitudes will evolve and change throughout life.


20 Political Socialization
Three general points about socialization: Socialization can occur in different ways. Direct socialization Socialization is a lifelong process. Patterns of socialization can be either unifying or divisive.

21 Agents of Political Socialization
Individuals, organizations, and institutions that influence political attitudes. Family Schools Religious institutions Fundamentalism Peer groups Social class Interest groups Political parties Mass media Global influence; most people in the world watch television to learn about the world

22 Direct Contact with the Government
In modern societies, the wide scope of governmental activities bring citizens into frequent contact with bureaucratic agencies. Personal experiences are powerful agents of socialization.

23 Trends in the Shaping Contemporary Political Cultures
Democratization? Marketization? Greater public acceptance of free markets and private profit incentives, rather than a government-managed economy Globalization

24 Dynamics of Contemporary Political Cultures
Political culture is not a static phenomenon. Encompasses how the agents of political socialization communicate and interpret historic events and traditional values Important to understand Influences how citizens act, how the political process functions, and what policy goals the government pursues

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