chapter  10
17 Pages

Change in Political Culture

ByAaron Wildavsky

Cultural analysis is grounded in the conviction that what matters to people is other people. It is not things per se that matter but what they signify for human relationships. Thus the aim of cultural analysis is to root explanation in social life. Preferences in regard to political objects are not endogenous; they stem from social relationships, from the process of constructing, modifying, and rejecting political regimes. Following the seminal work of Mary Douglas, cultures are characterized by the dimensions of group boundedness and behavioral prescription. Hierarchies are best described as forms of structured inequality in which the right to be obeyed is vested in institutional position. Market regimes seek to avoid the need for authority through extensive self-regulation. Equities actively reject the authority of hierarchy as coercive and the inequalities of markets as oppressive. Fatalists accept authority imposed from outside.