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Culture. Political ideology – a system of political ideas, developed for the purposes of political action (governing a country, launching a social movement or a political party, organizing a revolution – or a counterrevolution, etc.) Political culture

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Political ideology – a system of political ideas, developed for the purposes of political action (governing a country, launching a social movement or a political party, organizing a revolution – or a counterrevolution, etc.)

Political culture

the broad pattern of political orientations shared by a large group of people (a nation, a region, a class, an ethnic group)

slide3
Three levels of political culture*

System Pride in a nation

National identity

Legitimacy of government

Process Principles of government

Role of citizens

People’s basic political beliefs

Policy Role of government

Government policy priorities

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*See Gabriel Almond, Bingham Powell, Kaare Strom, Russell Dalton, Comparative Politics Today: A World View. 7th edition. New York: Longman, 2000, p.50

slide4
Feelings of national pride (%% feeling “very proud” or “proud” of their countries)*

90-100%: USA, Australia, Mexico, Turkey, Spain, Slovenia

80-90%: Norway, Sweden, China, UK, Nigeria, Brazil

70-80%: France, Switzerland, Russia

60-70%: Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Japan

50-60%: Germany

*See Almond et al., p.50

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WHAT THINGS DO YOU VALUE MOST ABOUT BEING CANADIAN?
  • Freedom/choices: 59%
  • Beauty/geography/climate/resources: 23%
  • Health care/medical system: 20%
  • Quality of life: 18%
  • Opportunities/economic stability: 12%
  • Peaceful/no war: 10%
  • Multiculturalism/tolerance: 10%
  • Democratic country: 8%
  • People friendly/polite/kind: 8%
  • Safety/low crime rate: 7%
  • Social programs: 7%
  • International reputation: 7%
  • Good country (general): 6%
  • Education system: 6%
  • Clean: 3%
  • Born here/identity: 3%
  • Bilingual: 2%
  • Negative comments: 2% (Environics poll, 1997)
slide6
Canadian values (as described by the Canadian Commission for UNESCO)*:
  • the promotion of culture and democracy through the sharing of ideas and knowledge;
  • justice and equality for all;
  • freedom of thought, expression and communication;
  • the promotion of tolerance;
  • access to education and information;
  • the affirmation of specific cultures and identities as integral parts of the richness of humanity;
  • a respect for indigenous cultures;
  • and the preservation of the world\'s heritage and natural environment.
  • -----------------------------------
  • *A Code of Ethics/Values for Countries, Governments, Businesses. - http://www.peace.ca/codeofethics.htm
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National pride does not come from affluence

What matters is a sense of history – every generation has its own readings of it – and its own historical myths

Patriotism is a double-edged sword (“the last refuge of a scoundrel” – Samuel Johnson)

National identity – a sense of a nation’s (ethnic group’s) uniqueness, particular qualities, place in the world, role in history

Also a double-edged sword: “us vs. them”

Legitimacy of government defines fundamental understanding between citizens and authorities

High legitimacy makes society easier to govern, reduces conflicts in society

Low legitimacy has opposite effects

slide8
The Process Level

Principles of government

Major global question of the 20th century: democracy or authoritarianism? Solved in favour of democracy

The next major global question: how to make democracy work?

Role of citizens

3 types of citizen role, 3 types of political culture:

participants – informed about politics, make political demands, expect politicians to deliver public goods

subjects – passively obey the government and laws

parochials* – are barely aware that the state exists

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*From “parish” – local church community

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Industrial democracies are generally characterized by the dominance of the participant orientation, although both subjects and parochials are present, too.

In a preindustrial democracy (example – India), even though democratic institutions are present, most citizens behave as subjects or parochials

In communist countries (authoritarian industrial), the level of political participation is usually high, but the vast majority of citizens act as subjects – in the absence of real political freedoms. Few citizens are allowed to be parochial: the state draws people into politics.

In some democracies, too, voting is obligatory

slide10
The concept of civic culture(Gabriel Almond and Sidney Verba, 1958):

democracy is stable when there is a mix of participant, subject and parochial cultures

That is: too much participation exacerbates conflicts in society

People should be free to opt out of political life

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The policy level

The policy level of a political culture describes public attitudes to the role and functions of government

These attitudes differ from country to country:

%% agreeing that the government should ensure everyone is provided for*:

60-70% range: Chile, Latvia, Nigeria

50-60% range: Hungary, Turkey, Spain, Lithuania

40-50% range: Italy, Poland, Britain, Russia, Mexico, China

30-40% range: Argentina, Netherlands

20-30% range: South Korea, Germany, Canada, France

Below 20%: USA

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See Gabriel Almond et al., Op.cit., p.54

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Conflict and consensus

Some political cultures are conflictual

Others, consensual(characterized by high levels of consensus in society about basic political values and principles)

Existence of consensus does not mean absence of conflict: one can have consensus (rules) as to how to wage and manage conflicts

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Subcultures

Within national political cultures, there are subcultures, characterizing political attitudes of different groups within society. In conflictual cultures, there are deep rifts between subcultures

The rifts are caused by such factors as:

Class

Ethnicity or race

Religion

Regional differences

slide14
Civilizations
  • “Civilization” in the singular:
    • French 18th-century usage: “civilization” as opposed to “barbarism”. Connotes “modern society”
    • In the broadest terms, “the human civilization” as a product of development of the human species – there may exist other civilizations on other planets
  • “Civilizations” in the plural:

The largest, longest-living, transnational cultural entities which have emerged at different stages of history in different parts of the world

slide15
Samuel Huntington:
  • “A civilization is the broadest cultural entity. Villages, regions, ethnic groups, nationalities, religious groups all have distinct cultures at different levels of cultural heterogeneity. The culture of a village in southern Italy may be different from that of a village in northern Italy, but both will share in a common Italian culture that distinguishes them from German villages. European communities, in turn, will share cultural features that distinguish them from Chinese or Hindu communities. Chinese, Hindus, and Westerners, however, are not part of any broader cultural entity. They constitute civilizations…
slide16
A civilization thus is the highest cultural grouping of people and the broadest level of cultural identity people have short of that which distinguishes humans from other species. It is defined both by common objective elements, such as language, history, religion, customs, institutions, and by the subjective self-identification of people. People have levels of identity: a resident of Rome may define himself with varying degrees of intensity as a Roman, an Italian, a Catholic, a Christian, A European, a Westerner. The civilization to which he belongs is the broadest level of identification with which he strongly identifies. Civilizations are the biggest “we” within which we feel culturally at home as distinguished from all the other “thems” out there.”*

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*Samuel Huntington, The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order. Touchstone Books, 1997, p.43

slide17
“A civilization… is neither a given economy nor a given society, but something which can persist through a series of economies and societies, barely susceptible to gradual change. A civilization can be approached, therefore, only in the long term, taking hold of a constantly unwinding thread – something that a group of people have conserved and passed on as their most precious heritage from generation to generation, throughout and despite the storms and tumults of history.”

Fernand Braudel, A History of Civilizations, translated by Richard Mayne. Pengui Books, 1993, p.35

slide18
Civilizations emerge in the course of history under the combined impact of various factors:*
  • Geographic – different types of interactions between man and the natural environment
  • Sociological – different types of societies (rural or urban, degrees of inequality, etc.)
  • Economic – what technologies are used, how productive is human labour, how wealth is distributed, etc.
  • Mental – different ways of thought and belief

*See Braudel, pp.9-23

slide19
Braudel again:

“In every period, a certain view of the world, a collective mentality, dominates the whole mass of society. Dictating a society’s attitudes, guiding its choices, confirming its prejudices and directing its actions, this is very much a fact of civilization. Far more than the accidents or the historical and social circumstances of a period, it derives from the distant past, from ancient beliefs, fears and anxieties which are almost unconscious – an immense contamination whose germs are lost to memory but transmitted from generation to generation. A society’s reactions to the events of the day, to the pressure upon it, to the decisions it must face, are less a matter of logic or even self-interest than the response to and unexpressed and often unexpressible compulsion arising from the collective unconscious…

slide20
These basic values, these psychological structures, are assuredly the features that civilizations can least easily communicate one to another. They are what isolate and differentiate them most sharply. And such habits of mind survive the passage of time. They change little, and change slowly, after a long incubation which itself is largely unconscious, too.

Here religion is the strongest feature of civilizations, at the heart of both their present and their past. And in the first place, of course, in civilizations outside Europe.” *

*Braudel, p.22

slide21
Huntington offers this typology of major contemporary civilizations:
  • Chinese (Sinic) – from at least 1500 BCE
  • Japanese – from 2nd-5th centuries CE
  • Hindu – from at least 1500 BCE
  • Islamic – from 7th century CE
  • Orthodox (now centered in Russia) – from 1st century CE
  • Western – from 8th-9th centuries CE
  • Latin American – from 3d century CE. Western influence from the 15th century
  • African – from 4th millennium BCE… Western influence from the 19th century
slide22

World Values Survey:

  • http://www.worldvaluessurvey.org
slide23
Some major trends in contemporary political cultures:

Political cultures change slowly, but they do evolve under the impact of many factors

Modernization continues, penetrating and reshaping societies around the world

Development of post-modern values, especially among the young (social equality, protection of the environment, cultural diversity, personal self-expression, etc.)

The resurgence of ethnicity

The new politics of faith: rise of religious political movements and parties

Clash of civilizations?

The spread of democratic values

Growing support for market systems (?)

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