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political culture

A broadly shared way of thinking about political and economic life that reflects fundamental assumptions about how government should operate. It is distinct from political ideology, which refers to a more or less consistent set of views about the policies government ought to follow. Up to a point people sharing a common political culture can disagree about ideology.

political subculture

Fundamental assumptions about how the political process should operate that distinguish citizens by region, religion, or other characteristics.

political ideology

A more or less consistent set of views as to the policies government ought to pursue.

civic duty

A belief that one has an obligation to participate in civic and political affairs.

civic competence

A belief that one can affect government policies.

work ethic

A belief in the importance of hard work and personal achievement.

class consciousness

An awareness of belonging to a particular socioeconomic class whose interests are difference from those of others. Usually used in reference to workers who view their interests as opposite those of managers and business owners.


People who believe that moral rules are derived from the commands of God or the laws of nature; these commands and laws are relatively clear, unchanging, and independent of individual moral preferences. They are likely to believe that traditional morality is more important than individual liberty and should be enforced by government and communal norms.


A person who believes that moral rules are derived in part from an individual's beliefs and the circumstances of modern life. Progressive are likely to favor government tolerance and protection of individual choice.

political efficacy

A citizen's belief that he or she can understand and influence political affairs. This sense is divided into two parts--internal efficacy and external efficacy.

internal efficacy

Confidence in a citizen's own abilities to understand and take part in political affairs.

external efficacy

A belief that the system will respond to a citizen's demands.

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