Political culture theory imputes some importance to political attitudes, beliefs, values, and emotions in the explanation of political, structural, and behavioral phenomena—national cohesion, patterns of political cleavage, models of dealing with political conflict, the extent and the character of participation in politics, and compliance with the authority. Political culture has never seriously been advanced as the unidirectional “cause” of political structure and behavior, although political culture theorists have been represented as taking such a position by some critics. The relaxed version of political theory—the one presented by most of its advocates—is that the relation between political structure and culture is interactive, that one cannot explain cultural propensities without the reference to historical experience and contemporary structural constraints and opportunities, and that, in turn, a prior set of attitudinal patterns will tend to persist in some form of degree and for a significant period of time, despite the efforts to transform it. All these qualifications and claims are parts of political culture theory. The argument would be that however powerful the effort, however repressive the structure, however monopolistic and persuasive the media, however tempting the incentive system, political culture would impose significant constraints on effective behavioral and structural change because underlying attitudes would tend to persist to a significant degree for a significant period of time. This is all that we need to demonstrate in order to make place for political culture theory in the pantheon of explanatory variables of politics.


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