Ineke Wessels 12145239 Professor. Miti
I have chosen to discuss the political culture of Costa Rica. Briefly defined, a political culture is the grouping of beliefs and values internalised within the general population that underscores their political activity as well as their attitude toward the government. Hereby it is mentionable that two things which immensely impact on the political culture of a country are its political histories and the cultural development of the country. These two conjoined factors largely formulate the political culture of a county. In this essay I will be discussing the political culture of Costa Rica.
Before analysing Costa Rica´s political culture, there needs to made clear distinction as to what culture is and how culture and politics interact. Culture is commonly understood as a shared belief system, shared value system and code of conduct of a people. The operative word being ´shared´ and can serve as a means of identity of a people or nation as well.
Culture influences politics in the way that strategies which are aimed at attaining national goals often reflect or are even dictated by the culture of the people. E.g. Costa Rican political culture as a model of classical liberalism reflected an avid entrepreneurial spirit among the Coffee Barons of Costa Rica´s classical period: Where wealth, status and class were the most valued features in society. There is empirical evidence showing that people´s viewpoints, whether realist, functionalist, conservative, liberal, mercantilist etc. will influence their actions. Culture is intrinsic to the conduct of political activity.
Costa Rica´s contemporary political culture is defined by an unprecedented belief in democracy, as it is Latin America´s oldest democracy. Despite this, it is a country founded in solidarity with its neighbours and emphasises not only domestic harmony but also that of the rest of Central America and Latin America.
As with all aspects of politics, interrelated factors of economics, politics and individuals are not mutually exclusive and it is my aim to prove how certain countries whose political cultures are informed by similar patterns may show similar political cultures. For example capitalism, as proposed by Max Weber had developed upon the principles of: ascetic self-control which are conducive to the accumulation of wealth and which had led to the entrepreneurial spirit of the Industrial Revolution. This led to the upsurge of capitalism which was largely made possible due to a set of cultural changes related to the emergence of Calvinist Protestantism.
In this way we can also see that national ideologies which inform political culture sustain this political culture for a relatively long time as ideologies and culture, symbiotic as they are, are unlikely to change and therefore political culture generally survives and only transforms with the advent of severe variables which will be defined later.