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Beyond political culture. Warsaw, May-June 2009 Lectures. Johann Friedrich Overbeck (1789-1869). Meanings. Resources. Organization(s)/ institutions. Interaction (basic unit of the society). Comments on the chart:

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beyond political culture

Beyond political culture

Warsaw, May-June 2009 Lectures

slide6

Meanings

Resources

Organization(s)/

institutions

Interaction (basic unit of the society)

slide7
Comments on the chart:
  • At the outset of an interaction the participating actors are in symmetrical or asymmetrical (more often) positions: initial power differential.
  • Interaction actualizes this differential and may change it: final/outcome power differential.
  • Interaction is ALWAYS an act of communication (meaning).
  • Interaction is ALWAYS carried our within some (institutional) constraints.
  • Interaction has ALWAYS (?) an impact on the distribution of resources (sometimes indirectly; see Goodin and Klingemann on this point (1996:7)).
  • Interaction can be usefully modeled as a game (with rational actors).
slide8

Signifying

element

Sender

?

Receiver

Signified

element

(Political) Field

definitions of politics
Definitions of politics:
  • Institutional:
    • “’Politics’ might best be characterized as the constrained use of social power.”
    • The study of politics: “the study of the nature and sources of those constraints and the techniques for the use of social power within those constraints” (7).”[1]
  • Material-institutional:
    • "A conception of politics as decision making and resource allocation is at least as old as Plato and Aristotle" (47); Laswell’s: who gets what when and how.“
    • "the organizing principle of a political system is the allocation of scarce resources in the face of conflict of interests“

[1] Robert Gooding and Hans-Dieter Klingemann (A New Handbook of Political Science, Oxford, 1996): 7.

definitions of politics10
Definitions of politics:

3. Structural:

From: Doug McAdam, Sidney Tarrow and Charles Tilly, Dynamics of Contention

definitions of politics11
Definitions of politics:

"Although there are exceptions, the modern perspective in political science has generally given primacy to substantive outcomes and either ignored symbolic actions or seen symbols as part of manipulative efforts to control outcomes." /…? These challenges echo another ancient theme of political thought, the idea that politics creates, confirms, or modifies interpretations of life. Through politics, individuals develop their identities, their communities, and the public good" (March, Olsen, 1989:47-48).

  • Cultural-institutional:

"Politics is usually conducted as if identity were fixed. The question then becomes, on what basis, at different times in different places, does the nonfixity become temporarily fixed in such a way that individuals and groups can behave as a particular kind of agency, political or otherwise? How do people become shaped into acting subjects, understanding themselves in particular ways? In effect, politics consists of the effort to domesticate the infinitude of identity. It is the attempt to hegemonize identity, to order it into a strong programmatic statement. If identity is decentered, politics is about the attempt to create a center."[1]

[1]Nicholas B. Dirks, Geoff Eley, and Sherry B. Ortner, "Introduction" to Culture/Power/History. A Reader in Contemporary Social Theory, Nicholas B. Dirks, Geoff Eley, and Sherry B. Ortner, editors, 1994, Princeton: Princeton University Press: 32.

definitions of culture total global
Definitions of culture: total/global

Total concept of culture:

  • E.B.Tylor (Primitive Culture, 1871):
      • Culture is "that complex whole which includes knowledge, belief, art, morals, law, custom, and any other capabilities and habits acquired by man as a member of society."
selective definitions
Selective definitions:

Psycho-social:

  • Almond and Bingham Powell, Jr., (1966:23):
      • Culture: "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."

Semiotic:

  • Clifford Geertz (1973:145):
      • "Culture is the fabric of meaning in terms of which human beings interpret their experience and guide their action; social structure is the form that action takes, the actually existing network of social relations. Culture and social structure are then but different abstractions from the same phenomena."
ann swidler 1986 273
Ann Swidler (1986:273):

“Culture consists of such symbolic vehicles of meaning, including beliefs, ritual practices, art forms, and ceremonies, as well as informal cultural practices such as language, gossip, stories, and rituals of daily life. These symbolic forms are the means through which 'social process of sharing modes of behavior and outlook within [a] community' (Hannerz, 1969:184) take place.”

political culture psycho social almond and verba 1963 15
Political culture (psycho-social: Almond and Verba (1963:15)

Political culture is "a people's predominant beliefs, attitudes, values, ideals, sentiments, and evaluations about the political system of its country, and the role of the self in that system.“

(1963:13): culture: "a set of orientations toward ... social objects“

political culture: "orientations toward specifically political objects"

political culture semiotic gamson 1988 220
Political culture (semiotic):Gamson (1988:220)

"A nonredundant concept of political culture refers to the meaning systems that are culturally available for talking, writing, and thinking about political objects: the myths and metaphors, the language and idea elements, the frames, ideologies, values, and condensing symbols."

six pairs of contrasts
Six pairs of contrasts:
  • Psycho-social (culture as attitudes) versus semiotic (culture as texts)
  • Culture as a constraint (Geertz) versus culture as a resource (utilitarian) (Cohen)
  • Public (inter-subjective, collective) versus individual level: Hannertz versus Strauss&Quinn
  • Emic (“native’s point of view”) versus etic (external)
  • Holism (Huntington) versus individualism (game theory)
  • Semiotic system (structuralism) versus (social) practice (post-structuralism);
ulf hannertz cultural complexity studies in the social organization of meaning 7
Ulf Hannertz: Cultural Complexity: Studies in the Social Organization of Meaning (7).

Three dimension of culture:

  • Ideas and modes of thought as entities and processes of the mind;
  • Forms of externalization, the different ways in which meaning is made accessible to the senses, made public;
  • Social distribution, the ways in which the collective inventory of meanings and meaningful external forms - is spread over a population and its social relationship.