The Idea of Political Culture

Paul Lichterman and Daniel Cefaï

in The Oxford Handbook of Contextual Political Analysis

Published in print March 2006 | ISBN: 9780199270439
Published online September 2009 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks of Political Science

 The Idea of Political Culture

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  • Politics
  • Comparative Politics
  • Political Behaviour


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This article describes the idea and existence of a so-called political culture, focusing on the culture of political action in civil society. It explains that political cultures are the sets of symbols and meanings or styles of action that organize political claims-making and opinion-forming, by individuals or collectivities. It aims to provide a contextualist understanding of political culture through discussion of recent cultural sociology in the U.S. and pragmatic sociology in France. It also investigates why political culture needs to be autonomous.

Keywords: political culture; political action; civil society; claims-making; opinion-forming; cultural sociology; pragmatic sociology

Article.  9074 words. 

Subjects: Politics ; Comparative Politics ; Political Behaviour

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