It refers to the way the members of a political community behave in their political activities, e.g. voting. It refers to the usual attitude, beliefs and perception of people towards politics. It also deals with the various reasons which conditioned the behaviour of the people in a political community. The role of political culture is to set the standards of behaviour of public officials and citizens. Some countries with developed and established political cultures are Britain, U.S.A.and France.
Components of Political Culture
- Cognitive orientation: It has to do with the beliefs of the people about the political system involving the government and their roles.
- Evaluative orientation: The function of any political system is subject to evaluation. The extent to which people can evaluate or assess the activities of those in power goes a long way in determining their efficiency and acceptability of their policies.
- Affective orientation: This has to do with the feelings, support and loyalty of the people towards the activities and performance of the government.
Determinants of Political Culture
- Historical development: The French Revolution of 1789 violently overthrew the existing political structures oh and other events of the 19th and 20th centuries and were largely determined by the attitude, values and beliefs formed by that revolutionary upheaval.
- The impact of European colonial domination: This colonial influence on many new states in Africa and Asia is an important factor explaining some aspects of the political culture of these states. For instance, one may recognise the different effects of the British and French control of some areas in West Africa.
- Ethnic differences: The impact of ethnic differences on a particular political culture varies. Ethnic differences have for long affected attitude in Nigeria.
- Instability: The instability in the political system caused by ethnic groups directing their loyalties to themselves and not to the national government.
- Socio – economic structure: The socioeconomic structure is another determinant of the political culture. A predominantly urban, industrialized society is a more complex society where educational standards are higher and participation in the decision-making process is wider. But this is not so in rural societies which tend to be more conservative.
- Industrialized society: The industrialized society will have a complex class structure, but the distinctness of class as a sub-group will vary.