Significance of Political Culture

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CANDIDATE NAME: James Alexander Ayles
STUDENT NUMBER: 1014262
MODULE CODE: EU7100 (Autumn)
MODULE TITLE: Introduction to Academic Study in the UK
SEMINAR TUTOR: Dr. Stephen Thornton, Elizabeth Wren-Owens ESSAY TITLE / COURSEWORK ASSIGNMENT: Can Political culture be considered a cause or consequence of Democracy? Research Trail WORD COUNT: 1,192, excluding Bibliography.

Can Political Culture be considered a cause or consequence of Democracy? A ii)
In their widely used academic textbook Comparative Government and Politics (2008) Hague and Harrop present the notion of political culture as being “continually influenced by political and economic development.” This is supported with a study of the post-war divisions of West and West Germany. The first .chapter identifies how rapid post-war economic recovery in the west impacted positively on political culture, with over 50% of West Germans proud of their political institutions by 1988 (Hague & Harrop 2008). Therefore, the recovery of West Germany demonstrates how a democratic culture can emerge from authoritarian regimes. In an authoritarian regime, the values of the Communist East had a clear impact upon trust between citizens and the government. Rainer and Siedler (2006) identify this as a long-term effect of living in a regime that “engaged in such extraordinarily close surveillance of the population.” Yet, post-integration, trust levels amongst former citizens of the east towards political institutions have increased dramatically, as democracy is established. Therefore, Hague & Harrop (2008) identify political culture as a consequence, affected drastically by regime. The liberal democracy of West Germany under the Allies encouraged openness and the development of this supportive political culture in turn offered confidence to the political leaders. However, should such devastating economic and social developments as those seen in the East during the Cold War reoccur, a similar alteration in political culture could be witnessed. B ii)

The article in question, Patrick Fisher’s “State political culture and support for Obama in the 2008 Democratic presidential primaries” first appeared on “The Social Science Journal” online edition in June 2010. Patrick Fisher, an associate Professor of Political Science at Seton Hall University, has had numerous articles published in leading Journals, including “Criminal Justice Policy Review” and “American Review of Politics” between 1999 and 2010. The Social Science Journal is published quarterly and can be considered reputable for its method of jurying articles before being published. The Journal itself is published by the Western Social Science Association, which was founded in 1958 and draws upon scholars and academics across the United States for its research and publications. (www.wsa.asu.edu) B iii)

Using both the widely accepted political culture typology of Daniel Elazar and the groundbreaking work of Almond & Verba in The Civic Culture (1963) Patrick Fisher examines how the Primary system, as a pillar of democracy in the USA, is a consequence of political culture, in contrast to Hague & Harrop’s analysis of how regime in fact determines political culture. Patrick Fisher’s article gives focus to the influence and importance of political culture on the outcome of the 2008 Democratic Primary. Using Elazar’s typology of political subcultures, Fisher is able to identify areas of dominance, by subculture, for both Obama and Clinton in the Primaries. He notes that Obama won 76% of states labelled moralistic, and eight of nine considered exclusively moralistic. Yet of those states with an individualistic or traditionalistic subculture, Obama lost over half to Clinton. Therefore, this clear separation down cultural lines indicates that “one of the most important factors differentiating the candidate’s level of support in 2008 was political culture.” Fisher makes a key point...
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