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Political Culture

The concept of political culture is taken to be a unique contribution of political sociology. The subjective aspect of politics that constitutes the core of political culture has long been a matter of great interest to political scientists.

Political culture is composed of attitudes and orientation that people in a given society develop toward objects within their political system. These orientations may have three distinct dimensions, which are

  • Cognitive
  • Affective
  • Evaluative

The cognitive orientations imply the knowledge people have about objects within their political system; the affective orientations refer to their feelings about them-feelings either of attachment and involvement or of rejection and the evaluative orientation indicate their judgment on them involving the use of values, information and feelings.

It is by taking into account the three-dimensional orientations- cognitive, affective and evaluative that one may know the political culture of a society. The nature and extent of these orientations however may vary from society to society and this is what Almond and Varba has classified political culture into parochial, subject and participant. The central characteristics of parochial subject political culture that differentiates it from the subject and participant types is that in it individuals have no cognition of the political system as such and as a result they don't have any affective and evaluative orientations towards the political system.

Accordingly Almond and Verba list out the following mixed types of political culture.

  • The parochial-subject political culture
  • The subject-Participant political culture
  • The parochial participant political culture
  • The civic culture in parochial subject culture an individual has knowledge about a variety of government roles although he is mostly unaware of the ways in which they can influence the political system.

To say that a society 's political culture will invariably be a mixed type is perhaps will give enough indication of the possibly that in a society different groups of people may have different types of orientations towards the political objects. When these different group orientations which may, may not give rise to an integrated and coherent culture are clearly distinguible from one another we call them political sub cultures. Political sub cultures may grow on the basis of religion, social class, caste, language generation, occupation and the like. These sub cultures sometimes play a very significant role and in case of some nations it is impossible to understand the character of a political system without a thorough knowledge of these sub cultures.

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