Political culture is the traditional orientation of the citizens of a nation toward politics, affecting their perceptions of political legitimacy.
Political culture is a distinctive and patterned form of political philosophy that consists of beliefs on how governmental, political, and economic life should be carried out. Political cultures create a framework for political change and are unique to nations, and other groups.
A political culture differs from political ideology in that people can disagree on an ideology but still share a common political culture. Some ideologies, however, are so critical of the status quo that they require a fundamental change in the way government is operated, and therefore embody a different political culture as well.
According to their level and type of political participation and the nature of people's attitudes toward politics, Gabriel Almond and Sidney Verba outlined three pure types of political culture:
Where citizens are only remotely aware of the presence of central government, and live their lives near enough regardless of the decisions taken by the state. Distant and unaware of political phenomena. He has neither knowledge nor interest in politics. In general congruent with a traditional political structure.
Where citizens are aware of central government, and are heavily subjected to its decisions with little scope for dissent. The individual is aware of politics, its actors and institutions. It is affectively oriented towards politics, yet he is on the "downward flow" side of the politics. In general congruent with a centralized authoritarian structure.
Citizens are able to influence the government in various ways and they are affected by it. The individual is oriented toward the system as a whole, to both the political and administrative structures and processes (to both the input and output aspects). In general congruent with a democratic political structure.
These three 'pure' types of political culture can combine to create the 'civic culture', which mixes the best elements of each.