Political culture is the traditional orientation of the citizens of a nation toward politics, affecting their perceptions of political legitimacy.

In the early 1960s two Americans Gabriel Almond and Sidney Verba outlined three pure types of political culture in Great Britain can combine to create civic culture. These three key features expressed by both men were composed in order to establish the link between the public and the government.

The first of these features is Deference which looks at the respect, acknowledgment or inferiority of authority and superiors in society. In the 1950s a prominent example of Deference was a greater amount of approbation or inferiority for the Police service.

We know this due to lower levels of crime sixty years ago. In comparison to Deference towards the Police Service today we can notice significant change. The amount of respect has decreased for the service because of higher levels of anti social behaviour in society, notably knife and gun crime.


Today some people see the Police as a burden on certain freedoms they wish to exercise and as a result resent there cause of crime watch and defenders of the rule of law, this idea that some people in society adopt can be-shown as an area where Deference has broken down in twenty first century Britain.

The second key feature is Consensus. Consensus represents the key link between government and public agreement and appeasement. The appeasement may not always be shared with the whole nation but as a whole people agree to sustain it, meaning it is a common agreement. There are various Examples of Consensus in British Political culture; how we are governed as a whole, agreement on the welfare state, an agreement to which the powers governed by head of state go to.

A main example can be the common agreement of our Political voting system known as ‘first past the post’. Although some groups of people may disagree with its method of selecting an overall winner, it is a system that has been acknowledged and used to determine which party governs our country. Another Consensus is the understanding that our country is conducted centrally from Westminster in London and that they firmly uphold a ‘strong government’.

The third features of British Political Culture are Homegenity which emphasizes the point that in the 1950s we were more alike than different. People in general in the 1950s in Britain came under a category of white race, Christian and British heritage, the Monarchy was admired sufficiently more by a larger range of ages, people attended church frequently and the Union Jack flag depicting Great Britain as one, was actively used in International sports matches.


Today, Britain is considered a Multicultural society and a ‘Dominant Political Culture sharing similar beliefs and policies regarding the welfare state and national health system. Also accepting all races and different ethnic minorities to be part of the countries community.

As political philosophy:

Political Kure 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, state and other groups. A political culture differs from political ideology in that people can disagree on an ideology (what government should do) 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.

The term political culture was brought into political science to promote the American political system. The concept was used by Gabriel Almond in late 50s, and outlined in The Civic Culture (1963, Almond & Verba), but was soon opposed by two European political scientists-Gerhard Lehmbruch and Arend Lijphart. Lehmbruch analyzed politics in Switzerland and Austria and Lijphart analyzed politics in Netherlands. Both argued that there are political systems that are more stable than the one in the USA. Almond and Verba.


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.