Types of Political Culture and how it affects the political system
“When we speak of the political culture of society, we refer to the
political system as internalized in the cognitions, feelings, and evaluations
or its population.” (Almond and Verba, 1963: 14)
(do not know and do not act)
(know and act)
|The support of government: To what extent do people support government? Do they see it as a distant source of command, a benevolent source of help? Note that presidents, prime ministers and legislative majorities come and go, but people’s attitudes toward government is longer and deeper in their effect than the attitude of single or a group of politicians.||(Low) The support to the government is very low. This case may be attributed to the unawareness of the existence of the central government at all. Ex. the remote tribesman in Central Africa or Latin America may have never known about the existence of the central government.||(High) There is a high support for government. In a more practical terms, citizens believe that they belong to a legitimate political system. Other loyalties exist but they are secondary after the loyalty to the state.||(High) It is similar to the subject culture in its recognition and acceptance of the legitimacy of government. The difference is in the major belief in the role of masses in influencing the government. They usually approach the state as its interest is compatible with their own individual interests.|
|The trust of others in political system: the second dimension that Almond and Verba examined was the feelings of people toward other individuals and groups. Examples: What do Democrats do when a Republican is selected as a president? In Nigeria, to what extent the Ibo, Yoruba, Hausa, and Fulani tribes been willing to work with each other in the political system?||(Low) (Long social
and psychological distance with others)
When citizens feel closer to their tribes, regions, religions or ethnic groups, they do not acquire the sense of the other social or ethnic groups, the nation, the state or the political system as such. This tendency of losing trust in others usually is nurtured by the cross-cutting cleavages and civil wars. Ex. Would a Bosnian or Kosovian easily trust a Serb, a Palestinian and an Israeli, a Hutu and Tutsi, a Chinese, Vietnamese or Muslim Cambodian would trust Khamir Rouge who ruled Cambodia from 1975 –1979 and their brutality led to the deaths of about 1.7 million people?
|(High) There is more trust to other groups in society comparing to the parochial culture.||(High) Most people in society accept the same rules for gaining and transferring power (through elections, for instance) and their loyalty to the nation is more important than other specific group loyalties.|
|The efficacy of one’s role in the political system: The key here is; how important do individuals think they are in the political process? Will their participation make a difference?||(Low) Along with the low support to government is the low sense of efficacy. How would individuals think their ability to influence a government that they do not believe in its existence?||(Low) however individuals, still, do not think that their participation would much matter or affect politics. They think that politics are made by the elite not by masses.||(High) The level of political efficacy is very high.|
Agents of socialization:
1- Family: Most students of socialization believe that the most formative learning takes place during the childhood years. Mothers and fathers are the initial purveyors of a society’s culture. In a parochial culture, children learn from their fathers how to be apathetic and family or tribe centered. The opposite is in the case of participant culture.
2- School: In all societies, schools do more than educate students how to read, write and do mathematics. Schools tend to reflect the dominant culture because teachers themselves are the products of these cultures and the students read the books that the government assigned to them to read. A good example is how wars are explained. Take the Spanish-American War. Although it was a brief war that the United States waged against Spain in 1898, it is not mentioned that way in high schools.
3- Media: People get most of their believes from mass media, especially TV and newspapers. It is said that television has become the most important source of news and values. In this regard, mass media is a tool to enhance democracy by offering people what they need to know from news and criticisms, what the government (especially in totalitarian and authoritarian regimes) want to convey to people and to tempt people to believe in through building stereotypes.