WHAT IS POLITICAL CULTURE?
Political Culture is a part of Social Culture or General Culture. It consists of the attitudes, beliefs, emotions and values that relate to political system of a society. The term “Political Culture” was first coined by Gabrial Almond in 1950s. According to Almond and Powell, “Political culture consists of attitudes, beliefs, orientations towards 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.”
Kavanagh defines it: “Political culture relates to people’s attitudes to politics. It includes political values, ideologies, national character and cultural tendencies.”
The people of a given society share a common human nature. This common nature is expressed in the form of certain values, beliefs and attitudes which are transmitted from one generation to another by the processes of teaching and learning, whether formal or informal.
Political culture is the pattern of individual attitudes and orientations towards politics among the members of a political system. A study of political culture enables us to understand the political ideals and standards of behaviour people have set for themselves in a polity. It varies from country to country and constitutes the link between the behaviour of individuals and political events.
According to Almond and Powell, political culture involves three components of orientations. They are:
- Cognitive Orientation: It implies the knowledge people have about objects within their political system.
- Affective Orientation: It is the feeling of attachment, involvement, rejection and the like about political objects.
- Evaluative Orientation: It indicates their judgement/opinion about the political objects, which usually involve applying value standards to political objects and events.
Classification of Political Culture
- Parochial political culture: It is found in simple traditional and tribal societies in which people have no understanding or awareness of the political system. The political participation or general orientation is not possible in such societies. In such societies, there is very little specialisation and where actors fulfil a combination of political, economic and religious role simultaneously. Their lifestyles, attitudes, political values, ideologies, etc. are fully determined by the tribal culture, tribal leaders and tribal politics.
- Subject political culture: In such culture, people are aware of their national political system or the governmental system and whether they like or not. The position of the subject in such a case essentially is a passive one. It is mainly because he sees no role or possibility of influencing working of the system. This type of political culture is found in countries having monarchies, totalitarian or authoritarian system of governance.
- Participant political culture: In such a system, people are conscious of their rights and duties. It exists in developed societies where citizens get ample opportunities to participate in the political affairs of the state. They develop a particular attitude towards the political system. Political parties, pressure groups, interest groups, etc. fall in this category and decide for themselves what role they can play.
- Political sub-culture
Political sub-culture is the part of political culture. In some political systems, political subcultures are very much predominant and because of this, separatist groups and movements develop. In a country having various races, cultures and languages, political sub-culture comes to be characteristic feature of the system.