Political culture and socialization system level
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Political Culture and Socialization (System Level) . Introduction to Comparative Politics . Political Culture and Political Socialization. Each nation has its own political norms that influence how people think and act about politics.

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Political Culture and Socialization (System Level)

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Political culture and socialization system level

Political Culture and Socialization(System Level)

Introduction to Comparative Politics

Political culture and political socialization

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

Mapping the three levels of political culture

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

Mapping the three levels of political culture1

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.

The system level

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.

The system level1

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.

The process level

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.

Political culture process level

Political Culture: Process Level

  • What people expect of the political process

    • Participation (equal access vs privileged access)

    • Transparency

    • Corruption as an issue

Political culture process level1

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

The policy level

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)

Consensual or conflictual political cultures

Consensual or ConflictualPolitical 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

Why culture matters

Why Culture Matters

  • 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.

Cultural congruence

Cultural Congruence


    • 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

Political socialization

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.

Political socialization1

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.

Agents of political socialization

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

Direct contact with the government

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.

Trends in the shaping contemporary political cultures

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

Dynamics of contemporary political cultures

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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