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Poli Sci 2300 - Political Culture

Political Science
Course Code
POLI 2300Y
Peter Arthur

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Wednesday, January 5, 2011
Political Culture
Has some aspect of stereotyping going on. Can’t classify every environment as behaving
in a certain way, part of a subdivision (etc. Going to Quebec – different political ideas
than the rest of Canada)
No evidence = bigotry, negative stereotypes
What is political culture?
The beliefs, values, norms, morals that people have towards the political
system in a political environment.
Subjective and psychological in nature – not quantitative, subject to opinion and change.
Based on what people believe – but what people believe isn’t actually what takes place.
Ultimately, we may believe something but it may not actually be what takes place (ex.
Americans are loud, Canadians are patriotic – we are just people, doesn’t speak for
Subject to change, dynamic, not static – Political transformation (ex. Soviet Union going
from authoritarian to more democratic, Japan – totalitarianism to democracy)
What does political culture explain?
The level of legitimacy of a government – Properly elected, fair elections, what the people
what, people accept, internationally recognized. The degree to which rules are regulations
are followed (especially elections). Ex. The Apartheid in South Africa – government was
seen as illegitimate. People often find alternatives to challenge the government
(violence). Couldn’t establish change through peaceful means – needed violent
The level of participation of people in a society – (The Civic Culture – Almond & Verba)
identifies 3 main political cultures:
1. Participant political culture – Political participation greater in democracies
(found in Canada, US, Britain). Conclusion can be extended to liberal
democracies. Can be ethnocentric – paints a rosy picture of political participation
in liberal democracies. There’s a limit to political culture – certain checks need to
be put in place (ex. G20 Summit in Toronto)
2. Subject political culture – Citizens are aware of what goes on in political realms.
Unlike 1. Where individuals believe they can affect change, 2. Believes “Why
bother? Everything has been predetermined – wouldn’t affect change.” Role
doesn’t affect government decisions. Ex. China – supposed to participate, but
through the CCP.
3. Parochial political culture – Individuals have no idea what’s actually going on.
Some people don’t know what elections are, etc. (Ex. Burma).
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