chapter  16
18 Pages

From Political Economy to Political Culture or Why I Like Cultural Analysis

ByAaron Wildavsky

In this chapter, the author tries to account for his movement from political economy to political anthropology, from a local rational choice to a global cultural theory, in order to explain political phenomena. After a brief description of what this cultural theory looks like, he adduces the conscious considerations that led him to make a radical break with prior modes of explanation. The axiom on which this cultural theory is based is that what matters most to people is their relationships with other people and other people's relationships with them. Predictions in cultural theory are made through the invariant consequences of social organization: social order guides individual behavior. Explanations using cultural theory are based on placing the individuals or groups concerned into cultural categories according to their actions and words. The dimensions of group strength and few prescriptions form an egalitarian culture, a life of voluntary consent, without coercion or inequality.