, Volume 43, Issue 1, pp 17-25

Political culture: a typology grounded on Cultural Theory

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Abstract

Political culture is an attractive concept to characterize the specific preferences regarding politics in different political communities. However, it is a blurred concept because of the confusion between patterns of individual values and collective culture at the one hand, and the disputable separation between orientations and practices at the other hand. This contribution explores the potential of Cultural Theory, also called the Theory of Sociocultural Viability, to analyze political culture. This theory postulates the existence of four viable ways of life, which are patterns of social interactions and rationalizations reinforcing each other. Each way of life offers a partial explanation of reality and therefore reaches out for cultural allies who can compensate for its weakness. Such an alliance, generally between two ways of life, can be quite stable and therefore determines to a large degree the nature and the stability of the political institutions of a country. The political culture of a political community can be characterized by the proportion of adherents of each way of life (its regime), and by the predominant alliance of two ways of life.