The Civic Culture

The Civic Culture

Cover of the 1963 edition
Author Gabriel Almond,
Sidney Verba
Publisher Sage Publications, Inc
Published in English
December 1963
Media type Print
Pages 574 ppg (1963 release)
ISBN 0691075034 (1963 release)
ISBN 0803935587 (1989 release)

The Civic Culture or The Civic Culture: Political Attitudes and Democracy in Five Nations is a 1963 non-fiction political science book by Gabriel Almond and Sidney Verba.[1] The book is credited with popularizing the political culture sub-field and is considered to be the first systematic study in this field.[2][3]


In the text Almond and Verba examine the democratic systems in five countries, the United States, Germany, Mexico, Italy, and the United Kingdom. They interviewed several individuals about how they viewed the government as it pertained to that person. Through the book Almond and Verba identify three political structures, participant, subject, and parochial.[4] They considered political culture to be the element that connects individual attitudes with the overall political system structure.[5]

Almond and Verba considered the Italian emphasis on the family as the driving main force for society as "amoral" or "exclusive", and believed that it would impede the culture's potential for developing a "sense of community and civic culture". They saw this as something that could potentially suppress "effective democracy".[6]

Reception and criticisms

Seymour Lipset wrote in The Democratic Century that Almond and Verba "did argue persuasively that the extent of civic culture could be predicted by structural and historical factors" but that there was also "strong evidence that some aspects of the civic culture were powerfully associated with education levels, across national borders".[7]

The Civic Culture was also criticized for having an "Anglo-American bias", with the authors stating that only the United Kingdom and the United States possessed the capability for long term democratic stabilization.[8] Critics also expressed skepticism over the accuracy of depicting a culture based upon individual interviews and that the approach was "ethnocentric and more prescriptive than objective and empirical".[9]


  1. Baker, Kendall (181). Germany Transformed: Political Culture and the New Politics. Harvard University Press. ISBN 0674353153.
  2. Wilson, Catherine (2008). The Politics of Latino Faith. NYU Press. pp. 17–18. ISBN 0814794130.
  3. Caramani, Daniele (2008). Comparative Politics. Oxford University Press. p. 420. ISBN 0199298416.
  4. Crothers, Lane (2000). Culture and Politics: A Reader. Palgrave Macmillan. p. 51. ISBN 0312233000.
  5. Franklin, Daniel (2006). Politics and Film: The Political Culture of Film in the United States. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers. p. 4. ISBN 0742538095.
  6. Kawata, Junichi (2006). Comparing Political Corruption And Clientelism. Ashgate Pub Co. p. 145. ISBN 0754643565.
  7. Lipset, Seymour (2004). The Democratic Culture. University of Oklahoma Press. p. 201. ISBN 0806136189.
  8. Axleford, Barry (1997). Politics: An Introduction. Routledge. pp. 58–63. ISBN 0415110750.
  9. Barrington, Lowell (2009). Comparative Politics: Structures and Choices. Wadsworth Publishing. p. 108. ISBN 0618493190.
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