How Can Political Culture Be a Useful Independent Variable?





Published date: 

June, 2004


Min-hua Huang


For the past four decades, Almond and Verba’s pioneering work, The Civic Culture, has remained one of the most popular books in political science, despite many criticisms. Indeed, the continuing popularity of The Civic Culture in the academic community is evidence of its groundbreaking quality and subtlety in treating culture as an independent variable. However, the number of criticisms and the lack of alternative paradigms paradoxically reflect the poverty of originality and progress in this field. The key question not only lies in the methodological problem of variable formation, but also originates from the expedient treatment of culture as a residual category. In this article, I examine two major debates in political culture studies and argue that culture should be treated as an implicit logic internalized in people's mind as common knowledge. Finally, this article will demonstrate how to formulate political culture as a useful independent variable by using survey data from Pakistan and Morocco.