Political culture and the media - Political culture

5 important questions on Political culture and the media - Political culture

What is political culture?

Pattern of orientations to political objects (parties, government, constitution) expreseed in beliefs, symbols and values.
Interest in the idea emerged in 1950s and 1960s. But faded in the 1970s.

Why did the debate about political culture get revitalised in the 1990s?

As a result of efforts in Eastern Europe to construct democracy out of the ashes of communism, and growing anxiety in mature democracies (such as USA) about the apparent decline of social capital and the advent of culture wars.

Culture war: a political battle over values and lifestyles reflecting the tension between social conservatism and social liberalism.

What is the conservative view on political culture?

Form of tradition and in particular traditional values. These would be the key to social cohesion and political stability.
Values are linked to the family, church and the nation; long-established institutions that supposedly embody the virtues of continuity and endurance.

--> Margaret Thatcher, Ronald Reagan

Oakeshott: tradition gives a sense of reassurance and stability. Suggests that there is a human disposition to favour tradition over innovation.

How has the defense of traditional values been one of the central themes of neoconservatism?

Neoconservatists warn against the destruction of spiritual values brought by market pressures and by the spread of permisiveness. Problem however: assumes there is an authoritative moral system upon which order and stability can be based (not possible in a multicultural society).

What are two developments of the media becoming powerful political actors?

1. Impact of family and social class has declined. People wouldn't really change their political preferences over time, this has changed. This wides the scope for the media's political influence (presenting information about issues and policies).

2. The development of media has massively increased the media's penetration of people's everyday life (social media, more tv etc.)

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