The term ‘governance culture’ is derived from the ‘cultural theory’ developed by the anthropologist Mary Douglas and utilised by M. Thompson and many others as a means of understanding how societies achieve collective action. The aim of looking at governance culture is to explore the values and understandings about human society that underlie the way undertake collective actions. The different governance cultures can help to understand some of the differences between flood management elements associated with flood defence (FD) and flood risk management, at least on a broad level. In York, a long history of flood management has meant that historic FDs have been supplemented by attempts to make space for water in the city, in terms of positioning of flood barriers to allow greater local storage, and in terms of aspirations for upland management far upstream from the city. The chapter introduces cultural theory as a means of analysing approaches to collective action.