, Volume 47, Issue 3, pp 477–486 | Cite as

A political-cultural map of Europe. Family structures and the origins of differences between national political cultures in the European Union

  • Virginie Mamadouh


Differences between the national political cultures of the European states are puzzling. They are too often taken for granted or treated as an elusive explanation for residual differences that can not be accounted for in comparative politics. Here they are put at the core of a comparative analysis. This article explores the origins of differences between national political cultures. It deals with national political cultures from the perspective of Cultural Theory or grid-group analysis. A national political culture is conceived as a ‘conversation’ between subcultures associated to national political institutions and practices (and not as an aggregated pattern of individual orientations toward political objects). National political cultures can be characterised on the basis of ideal typical patterns of relations between the basic cultures or rationalities distinguished by Cultural Theory. After an assessment of the differences between the national political cultures of the Member States of the European Union, the paper considers traditional family structures as possible sources of differentiation, elaborating upon the work of the French political historian Emmanuel Todd who has documented the correspondence between the geography of traditional family structures and the geography of ideologies in Europe.

cultural theory European Union family structure grid-group analysis political culture 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • Virginie Mamadouh
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Human GeographyUniversity of Amsterdam, AGIDSAmsterdamThe Netherlands

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