Islam in Civic Culture Perspective (Part 2)

Written By Dinda Revolusi on Minggu, 20 Februari 2011 | 02.44

The claim that Islam is responsible for the lack of democracy or for unstable democracy in predominantly Muslim states must be evaluated as a problem of political culture in which political behavior, institutions, and performance are shaped by culture. The political culture approach is necessary to assess the core arguments and the logic underlying the analysis of Huntington and other critics of Islamic democracy.

At the same time, Huntington and the others are not systematic in the way in which they construct their argument, nor do they provide satsifactory evidence to support their claim. This study is designed to approach the issue more systematically by deploying the civic culture perspective laid out initially by Gabriel Almond and Sidney Verba (1963). In its focus on attitudes, beliefs, and orientations, this perspective is the closest to Huntington, while being scientifically more persuasive.

Almond and Verba’s Civic Culture is the first work which addresses systematically the problem of democracy from the political culture perspective. They define political culture as psychological orientation toward social objects, or as attitudes toward the political system and toward the self as a political actor (Almond and Verba 1963). This orientation includes individual knowledge or belief, feelings or affection, and evaluation or judgment of the political system in general, political inputs and outputs, and one’s own role within the political system. Variation in these orientations and attitudes are believed to shape political participation and to effect democratic stability.

Almond and Verba believe that variation in political orientations produces three types of political culture: parochial, subject, and participant. In parochial political culture structural differentiation, for example between the religious and the political, is absent. People are unable to orient themselves towards structurally differentiated political systems. Individuals who adhere to this political culture tend to be apathetic or alienated from the political system.

Unlike parochial culture, subject political culture tends to make people active towards structurally differentiated political systems in general and towards the output side of the system, but passive towards the political input side. As with the parochial, the subject is characterized by an absence of orientation towards the self as a participant in the input side of the political process.

Finally, the participant is characterized by the presence of orientations not only toward the structurally differentiated political system in general and the output side of the system but also toward the input side and the self as an active participant. The participant, however, does not eliminate either the parochial or the subject. The participant orientation is an addition. Therefore, participants do not necessarily leave their primordial orientation. For example, a devoutly religious individual can be an active participant, supporting specific government policies and articulating his or her views as to what the government should do.

This mixed political culture is believed to have a positive impact on democratic stability. Almond and Verba’s civic culture is in fact not merely participant political culture, but participant political culture plus something else, i.e. activism plus passivism,when viewed as a whole. The result is moderate, rather than radical, political behavior. The orientation is not toward revolutionary but rather toward gradual change in the society and polity.

The civic culture syndrome has been strongly criticized (Barry 1970, Pateman 1971, Muller and Seligson 1994, Tarrow 1996) but remains resilient, at least in the scholarship of democracy in the developed nations.1 The increase in the number of democracies in the world has raised the question of the extent to which the new democracies can become stable or consolidated. In attempting to answer this question, a significant number of studies have turned back substantively to the civic culture syndrome. Inglehart even proclaimed "the renaissance of political culture" in which political culture is believed to be a crucial factor to explain democratic stability (1988). Or, as a counter to Skocpol’s idea of "bringing the state back in," he suggested the idea of "bringing the people back in" to explain political phenomena, especially democratic stability (1997). Regardless of their conclusions, Norris' Critical Citizens (1999) or her Democratic Phoenix (2002), for example, are studies about global support for democracy and political participation among people which are theoretically guided by the civic culture syndrome. Putnam's Making Democracy Work (1993) is probably the most cited recent work which revives the idea of civic culture to explain democratic performance. It has brought back not only Almond and Verba's Civic Culture but also Tocqueville'sDemocracy in America which emphasized the importance of political culture, and specifically civic association, for American democracy. All of these works argue that political culture cannot be ignored in democratic studies.

Accordingly, I will discuss the issue of the relationship between Islam and democracy in this introduction according to the logic of the civic culture research tradition. Democratic culture and behavior are understood as composed of several components: secular civic engagement, interpersonal trust, tolerance, political engagement, support for democratic system, and political participation. The claim that Islam is inimical to democracy can therefore be evaluated by exploring the extent to which Islam has a negative relationship with support for secular civic engagement, interpersonal trust, tolerance, political engagement, and political participation in addition to support for the democratic system. Before discussing these issues, I will offer a brief overview of how religion and democratic culture have generally been addressed in social science.

0 komentar:

Posting Komentar