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Political Culture and Democracy: Analyzing Cross-Level Linkages

Ronald Inglehart and Christian Welzel
Comparative Politics
Vol. 36, No. 1 (Oct., 2003), pp. 61-79
DOI: 10.2307/4150160
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4150160
Page Count: 19
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Political Culture and Democracy: Analyzing Cross-Level Linkages
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Abstract

Do individual-level attitudes play a significant role in sustaining democratic institutions at the societal level? In a recent article in Comparative Politics, Seligson argued that the strong aggregate-level correlations Inglehart found between political culture and stable democracy were spurious because there are no individual-level correlations between political culture and overt support for democracy. Seligson's analysis exemplifies the sort of cross-level fallacy he attributes to Inglehart: he equates individual-level support for democracy with the presence of democratic institutions. However, individual-level support of democracy is only weakly linked with societal-level democracy. Democracy currently has a positive image almost everywhere, but favorable opinions are often superficial. Unless they are accompanied by more deeply rooted orientations of tolerance, trust, and participation, chances for effective democracy are poor.

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