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Political cultural approach in comparative politics

Ques. What is the political cultural approach in comparative politics?

  • According to Pye, Political culture describes the overall pattern in society of beliefs, attitudes and values towards the political system, or ‘the sum of the fundamental values, sentiments and knowledge that give form and substance to political processes.


  • ‘The Civic Culture’ is the classic 1963 study by Gabriel Almond and Sidney Verba. Their investigation- the first systematic study of political culture approach, and – in seeking to identify the culture within which a liberal democracy is most likely to develop and consolidate – became a political science equivalent of Weber’s attempt (1905) to discover the cultural source of modern capitalism.


  • While Max Weber located the spirit of capitalism in protestant values, Almond and Verba found the source of stable democracy in what they called a civic culture.


  • Daniel J. Elzar talks of three dimensions of political culture based on involvement of people in public sphere- individualistic, moralistic and traditionalist. Political culture is not only a national or a local phenomenon but can also be understood at the global level.


  • A key example of global-scale analysis is offered by Samuel Huntington in his ‘The Clash of Civilizations’. Huntington saw seven or eight of them in all: Western, Japanese, Islamic, Hindu, Slavic–Orthodox, Latin American, Chinese, and (possibly) African.


  • He suggested that, as globalization proceeded, friction and conflict would intensify, reversing the standard ‘McWorld’ thesis given by Barber, of a world converging on American norms.