Political Culture and Political Socialization
* Each nation has its own political norms that influence how people think about and react to politics. * American’s strong feelings of patriotism, the Japanese deference to political elites, and the French proclivity for protest all illustrate how cultural norms shape political. * When a new regime forms, a supportive public can help develop the new system, while the absence of public support may weaken the new system. Mapping the Three Levels of Political Culture
* A nation’s political culture includes its citizens’ orientations at three levels: the political system, the political and policymaking process, and policy outputs and outcomes. * System level involves how people view the values and organization that comprise the political systems. * The process level includes expectations of how political should function, and individuals’ relationship to the political process. * The policy level deals with the public’s policy expectations for the government. The System Level
* National pride seems strongest in nations with a long history that has emphasized feelings of patriotism – the United States is a prime example. * Such a common sense of identify and national history often binds a people together in times of political strain. * In contrast, national pride is low in Japan and Germany, two nations that have avoided nationalist sentiments in reaction to the World War II regimes and their excesses. * Feelings of popular legitimacy are another foundation for a successful political system. A political system and a government with high legitimacy are typically more effective in carrying out policies and are more likely to overcome hardships and reversals. * In a traditional society, legitimacy may depend on the ruler’s inheriting the throne or on the ruler’s commitment to religious customs. * In a modern democracy, the legitimacy of the authorities depends on their selection by voters in competitive elections and on the government following constitutional procedures. * In other political cultures, the leaders may base their claim to legitimacy on their special wisdom or ideology. * Legitimacy is lacking where the public disputes the boundaries of the political system (as in Northern Ireland or Kashmir), rejects the current arrangements for recruiting leaders and making policies (as when Indonesians took to the streets in 1998 demanding a new democratic regime), or losers confidence that the leaders are fulfilling their part of the political bargain (as when the Thai opposition forced the prime minister from office in 2006). * The Soviet Union disintegrated in the early 1990s because all three legitimacy problems appeared. Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev failed in his efforts to deal with all three problems at the same time. The Process Level
* The second level of the political culture involves what the public expects of the political process. * Three different patterns describe the citizen’s role in the political process: Participants are or have the potential to be involved in the political process. They are informed about politics and make demands on the polity, granting their support to political leaders based on performance. Subjects passively obey government officials and the law, but they do not vote or actively involve themselves in politics. Parochials are hardly aware of government and politics. They may be illiterates, rural people living in remote areas, or simply people who ignore politics and its impact on their lives. * In the early 1990s many different politics systems existed worldwide. * Fascism was on the rise in Europe, communism was establishing itself in the Soviet Union, colonial administrations governed large parts of the worlds, and monarchial or authoritarian governments rules other nations. * Many of these nondemocratic forms of governance are no longer widely...