Political studies

4 Different Kinds of Political Culture: Contribution and Criticism

It has also been observed that the political culture of one country fundamentally differs from other countries. There is no country in the world to-day which can boast of single uniform political culture. Almond and Verba have listed four ideal types of political culture.

They are:

1. Parochial Political Culture:

Where the people have no understanding of ‘he national political system, do not possess any tendency to participate in the input processes and have no consciousness of the output processes, such a type of political culture is called parochial political culture. African tribes and Eskimos fall in this category. Such types of people have no role to play in the political culture.

2. Subject political Culture:

This type of political culture is found in the subject countries and monarchies. There the people are aware of the governmental system whether they like it or not. They also know the role of the government regarding law making, enforcement of laws and tax collection etc. In this type of culture people are not taught to participate in the input functions. Sometimes they are not allowed to do so, so the people find it difficult how to influence the working of the political system,

3. Participant political Culture:

In this type of political culture people ore quite keen to participate in the political system and influence it’s working. They are always busy making reasonable demands on the political system and are involved in the making of decisions. They develop a particular attitude towards the political system. Political parties and pressure groups (interest groups) fall in this category and decide for themselves what role they can play.

4. Political Sub-culture:

It is not necessary that all the groups in habiting a particular country may be equally advanced; some may be more advanced, while others may be less advanced. Therefore those groups who are more advanced, develop a participatory culture while others may still retain subject or parochial-culture. This is due to the reason that in many countries of the world there are different ethnic groups. Differences in political culture amongst them develop due to the difference in education, political training, economic and social background.

Therefore the backward develop a political sub-culture of their own. Sub-culture also develops when the political system is unable to advance rapidly according to the fast-changing needs of the society, Sometimes new political structure may be introduced by the elite but certain people may not be able to cope with it.

In this way different sections of the society may have different political orientations. So when a particular section of the society is clearly distinguishable from others in the same political system, then we find that it has developed a distinct political sub-culture of its own, France is the classic example of such sub-cultures.

Generally, the various groups do not make the same effective contribution in a political system but in times of grave national crisis, they do so. In developing countries also political sub-cultures develop because of the differences of language, religion, class and caste. In India also, we find such sub-cultures among the tribal areas.

Moreover, there is always a fundamental difference between the political culture of the rulers (political leaders and bureaucrats) and the ruled. The ruled generally vote for a particular party at the time of general election.

After the formation of a government, they do not exercise any control over it. They only read something about the working of the government in the newspapers. The rulers develop a particular attitude or superiority complex towards the governed. In this way, we find the difference between the elite and mass political culture. Where the rulers, whatever they pretend, belong to elite culture; the ruled belong to mass culture. In this way, Myron Weiner has analysed Indian political culture with the help of a distinction between mass and elite political culture.

Contribution of Political Culture:

Political Culture is an important method to judge the development and modernisation of a country. It has made a significant contribution to Political Science. Prof. S.P. Verma has highlighted the five main contributions of this approach.

First it has made Political Science a more complete social science.

Secondly, it has focused our attention on the study of political community o society as distinct from the individual and thus on the total political system.

Thirdly, it has encouraged political scientists to take up the study of social and cultural factors which are responsible for giving a political culture of a country its broad shape. Fourthly, it has helped us in combining the study of the national factors which shape the actions of the individuals to a large extent.

Lastly, it is the political culture approach which helped us to understand why different political societies inevitably moved in different directions of political development, or may be political development, or may be found, themselves suffering from severe constraints, socio-economic as well as political, which free them to move towards political decay”.


Almond and Powell have realised that the approach of political culture to the political system is inadequate.


Critics have pointed out that the following difficulties come in the wake of this study:

(1) The concept is merely a new label for an old idea;

(2) Its definition is vague. Various political writers have given it a meaning of their own. So, this concept conveys conflicting ideas.

(3) It is difficult to distinguish those elements which contribute to political culture from the elements which are generally found in the political culture.

(4) It is not clear whether political institutions and practices are parts of the political culture or are its products.

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SAKHRI Mohamed

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