Civic Culture and Social Capital Approaches to the Study of Political Culture
Every person in the
world has the same needs that do not depend on a country of origin, political
system or culture. Nevertheless, different people have access to dissimilar
opportunities presented by their countries. This situation can be explained by
various political cultures, and there are a few approaches to do this – civic
culture and social capital.
Civic culture approach
presupposes that “A match between a country’s political culture and political
institutions is necessary for political stability” (Draper and Ramsay, 2015, p.77).
It means that people should have the same view on how a country should be ruled
and how it is actually ruled. On the one hand, this approach implicates that every citizen has unlimited
access to any political information and is free to express any attitude to it.
On the other hand, not all people are equally involved in politics or are
politically active, therefore they cannot have their own political culture that
has to match current political institutions.
Social capital is a notorious concept
that has been widely discussed. It can be defined as “The ability of actors to
secure benefits by virtues of membership in social networks or other social
structures” (Portes, 1998, p.6). This approach is based on two factors that
favor cooperation: social trust and social networks. Social capital consolidates
citizens for or against common goals and, thereby, enhances their influence on
various situations. Nevertheless, being on
the same social network and sharing the same values may lead to personal
freedom restriction, as a person must follow particular norms that may be
different from their own. In communities with the high level of social control
young people tend to sin against the laws of society.
Political culture is a complex
notion that may be studied in different ways. Civic culture approach
concentrates on the coincidence of current political system and citizens’ opinion
of its relevancy. Social capital approach
focuses on the benefit a society can have from
relations among people.