The concept of political culture owes its genesis to the post second world war phase where political scientists attempted to develop a number of new approaches to detach political science from tentacles of traditional approaches. It seeks to study politics by integrating outputs from psychology and sociology.
Political culture refers to beliefs, attitudes and orientations that people have towards political objects. It has been observed that by analyzing the political culture of societies many of their political problems could be solved. The credit for outlining a conception of political culture goes to Gabriel Almond who observed that “every political system is embedded in a particular pattern of orientation to political actions.
Rose and Dogan:
Political culture…refers to the values, beliefs and emotions that give meaning to political life.
Almond and Powell:
Pattern of individual attitude and orientations towards critics among the members of a political system.
“Political culture means commonly shared goals and commonly accepted rules”.
“Values, beliefs and emotional attitudes about new government ought to be conducted and what it should do.” Secularization.
The process of the secularization of political culture means increasing political awareness of the people enabling them to have growing information about their role as a political actor in it. It is through the secularization of political culture that these rigid, ascribed and diffuse customs of social interaction come to be over ridden by a set of codified, specifically political and universal rules.
By the same token, it is in the secularization process that bargaining and accommodative political actions become a common feature of the society, and that the development of special structures such as interest groups and parties become meaningful.
A study of different political systems of the world, whether advanced or eastern and developing leaves an impression that political culture plays a very important role in the sphere of political stability and change.
Gabriel Almond is the most outstanding scholar in the study of political culture. He begins with some assumption
1. Political culture and political structure are interrelated and affect one another.
2. Political system operates within a framework of set of meanings.
To him, there are components central to political culture-orientation and objects. Objects
Almond says that the political system is basically, the sum total of orientation of the people towards political objects (political culture is the sum total of political orientations and attitudes held by individuals in relation to political system).
By orientation he meant an outlook, either general or limited of one’s surrounding. Such an outlook helps the individual soot out and evaluates the stimuli coming from the world around him. Such an individual orientation has three components at dimension. They are as under: Cognitive Orientation
They refer to orientation in relation to the knowledge and beliefs about political objects i.e. leaders operation of system problem and prospect of policy.
They relate to the feeling of attachment, involvement, rejection, alleviation about political objects. They include judgments and opinions about judicial objects, for example include application of values such as democratic norms.
These three dimensions of orientation are interrelated and may be combined in a variety of ways, self within the same individual as he considers the various aspects of the political system.
Orientation of people is directed towards political objects. According to Almond and Powell, political objects include the political system as a whole; particular political structures-parties, interest groups legislature, executive, judiciary individual or group roles President, Prime Minister, Cabinet, Ministry and specific public policies and issues. They also include the self as a political actor. Since, the number of political objects is very large, they can be classified under four categories.
1. System as a whole:
It includes the political system, its history, its size, location of power, constitution etc.
2. Input processes:
It includes those organizations and institutions which channel the flow of demands and supports into the political system. They affect the decision making process like political parties, pressure (interest groups), media etc.
3. Output process:
It includes the work of the bureaucracy, the courts and other institutions concerned with applying and enforcing authoritative decisions.
4. The self:
It includes the individual’s role in the political system as perceived by the individual himself. His rights, power, duties etc.