(Online Course) Public Administration for IAS Mains Exams
Topic: Philosophical and Constitutional framework of
government: Political Culture
Political culture can be defined as “The orientation of the
citizens of a nation toward politics, and their perceptions of political
legitimacy and the tradition of political practice,” and the feelings expressed
by individuals in the position of the elected offices that allow for the nurture
of a political society. Political culture is how we think government should be
carried out. It is different from ideology because people can disagree on
ideology, but still have a common political culture. Political scientist Sidney
Verba, describes political culture as a “system of empirical beliefs, expressive
symbols, and values, which defines the situation in which political action takes
Political Culture as Shared Paradigms
One way to understand political culture is in terms of the
shared paradigms that co-exist within a single particular society. This involves
identifying the various culture within the society other than the dominant
culture. Some of the variables used to define a political culture are its
paradigms about government economics and morality. There are several
distinctions which can be made in identifying political cultures. One
distinction is whether it is a belief of the culture that its basic unit is is
the individual or the family. Another distinction is to ask whether the concept
of the culture is cooperative or competitive. Yet another distinction is whether
the culture believes the society should be organized hierarchically or is
egalitarian. Whether reason or tradition serves as justification, is yet
William Stewart: Eight Political Cultures
(1) Anarchism: An anarchist political culture only exists in
small societies in which there are no strangers. Every persons has face to face
accountability, and will have to continue to live together. The paradigms about
society and the role of the individual are shared strongly among all of its
members. In such a society institutions of government are not necessary. Family
contacts and their constant reinforcement through personnel contact hold the
single-culture society together.
(2) Tory Corporatism: A Tory corporatist political culture
presumes that responsibility to the group is more important than individual
needs and desires. Tradition is the justification of the tory culture. The
immediate family connections form its basis. The corporatist culture takes
cooperation as fare more important that competition.
(3) Oligarchy: Oligarchy is a political culture where a
particular corporate group in a society promotes its own welfare by exploiting
others. While the tory accepts that the whole society is one big family and for
the anarchist the entire society is the family; for the oligarch, there is a
great division between his or her family and the rest of society.
(4) Classical Liberalism: The classical liberal political
culture is not based on tradition as tory corporatism and oligarchy are the
based in rationally. It takes the individual as the basic unit of society and is
competitive rather than cooperative.
(5) Radical Liberalism: The radical liberal shares all of the same paradigms
as the classical liberal, however it differs in that its hierarchical nature
does not apply to its elections, and its competitive nature is more limited.
(6) Democratic Socialism: The democratic socialist political
culture is much like radical liberalism, however it attempts to be more
egalitarian. They believe that the government is an instrument of changing the
prevailing economic paradigm. They are collectivist rather than competitive.
(7) Leninist Socialism: Leninist socialists like other
socialists take rationality as the justification for their culture. The believe
that the rich lie and perpetuate paradigms which support their won interests.
While they reject a social hierarchy, the government itself is rigidly
(8) Fascist Corporatism: While the tory corporatist culture
is established and on-going, the fascist corporatist attempts to create such a
culture by force. The tory takes tradition as the legitimate basis of society,
while the fascist makes some form of appeal to rationality. The fascist attempts
to recreate the conditions of tory corporatism as a response to Leninist
Political Culture as Political Philosophy
Political culture is a distinctive and patterned form of
political philosophy that consist of benefits on how governmental, political,
and economic life should be carried out. Political cultures create a framework
for political change and are unique to nations, states, and other groups. A
political culture differs from for political ideology in that people can
disagree on an ideology (what government should do) but still share a common
political culture. Some ideologies, however, are so critical of the status quo
that they require a fundamental change in the way government is operated, and
therefore embody a different political culture as well.
The term political culture was brought into political science
to promote the American political system. The concept was used by Gabriel Almond
in late 50s, and outlined in The Civic Culture (1963, Almond & Verba), but was
soon opposed by two European political scientists – Gerhard Lehmbruch and Arend
Ulphart. Lembruch analysed politics in Switzerland and SAustralia and Lijphart
analysed politics in Netherlands. Both arqueed that there are political systems
that are more stable than the one in the USA.
Type of Political Culture Almond & Verba—Three pure types of Politicial
Parochial: Where citizens are only remotely aware of the
presence of central government, and live their lives near enough regardless of
the decision taken by the state. Distant and unaware of political phenomena. He
was neither knowledge nor interest in politics. In general congruent with a
traditional political structure.
Subject: Where citizens are aware of central government and are heavily
subjected to its decision with little scope for dissent. The individual is aware
of politics, its actions and institutions.
Participant: Citizens are able to influence the government in various ways
and they are affected by it.
These three ‘Pure’ types of Political culture can combine to create the
‘Civic Culture’, which mixes the best element of each.
There are two types of political culture:
(a) Political Culture of masses
(b) Political Culture of elite
Classification of the Political Culture of the masses:
Lijphart also classified structure of the society:
The most Stable Political System is consociative democracy
which has the heterogeneous society in which all parts of the society work
together and not contradict each other. Those kind of system are common in