Political Culture | Definition & Types

The concept of political culture indicates or denotes that the functioning of political system can only be understood if the values or orientation of people to politics are appreciated.

Political culture therefore, is composed of a set of attitudes, belief and feelings that give order and meaning to the political system and provide the underlying assumption and rules, that govern political behavior.

Political culture also means the overall norms, values, belief or orientation towards politics in the society.

Lucian Pye defined a nation political culture as the set of attitudes, belief and sentiments which give order and meaning to a political process and which provides the underlying assumption and rules that govern behavior in the political system, which encompasses both the political ideas and the operating norm of a polity.


There are many classifications of political culture, but we have to confine ourselves in the classification of Samuel Finer, G. Almond and S. Verba.

According to them political culture is classified as:

  • Political culture is classified in terms of public approval for the procedures of transferring power from one government to another,
  • The degree of public recognition as to what comprises the sovereign authority,
  • The degree of public involvement in politics and in organizations such as churches, business and unions and political parties,
  • Parochial- here the individual hardly relate himself to politics and is unaware of its existence as I traditional society,
  • Subject- this exist in countries where the citizens have passive or obedient relationships to the system as in Eastern Europe.


The following factors determine political culture, namely:


A country culture can be influenced by the nature of the climate, terrain as well as availability of resources for industry or agriculture.


The degree of stability and loyalty to a political system of a country can be determined by the experiences and events which have marked the development of a political system in the past.


This aspect of political culture comprises of symbols such as National Flag, National Anthem, National Holidays and Festivals, Ceremonies, Parades and Demonstrations.


An industrialized society tends to have higher educational standards than a rural one and this brings wider participation in the political process.


Some children and adults need to learn how to become loyal citizens of their countries, endorsing certain values, attitudes and beliefs which are acceptable to the political system.

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