The 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.