Part 3: User’s guide

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Selection of research questions: Political culture

Community system

  • How did statehood come into being in a given country? Through:
    • Long-term independent developments and peaceful integration?
    • Violent conflicts and peace agreements
    • External or colonial imposition?
  • Which of the above applies to South Africa?
  • To what extent the historical route to statehood affects the sense of “national” identity?
  • What political implications have the racial, ethnic, religious and regional identities in South Africa?
  • Do the persisting socio-economic inequalities impact the quality of democracy in South Africa?
  • In what way does this manifest?

Socio-cultural system

  • How strong are authoritarian as opposed to participatory traditions in South Africa?
  • What is the level of religiosity as opposed to secular orientations in the country?
  • Is the South African society:
    • Male-dominated
    • Egalitarian
    • Open to diversity
  • What is the level of social trust, social and political tolerance?
  • What is the level of political interest and political information?
  • What is the predominant pattern of elite recruitment?
    • Inheritance of positions
    • Specific social groups
    • Social class
    • Individual achievement
  • Who are the major political opinion leaders in South Africa?
    • Traditional/religious authorities
    • Media personalities
    • Party leaders
    • Public intellectuals
    • Scientists 

Economic system

  • Are there strong materialist (survival) or post-materialist (self-expression) orientations?
  • Is there a high level of economic achievement orientation?
  • Is there a high level of work ethic?
  • Is there a high level of economic satisfaction or dissatisfaction?
  • How does the level of economic satisfaction of dissatisfaction affect specific support for elites?

Political system

  • To what extent do the dramatic experiences of apartheid authoritarian oppression play a role in the collective memory of South Africans?
  • To what extent has the Truth and Reconciliation Commission helped to deal with the past during democratic transition and transformation?
  • Are political leaders seen as competent in doing their job?
  • Are political leaders regarded as having personal integrity?

External relations 

  • Do South Africans view neighbouring countries with friendliness or hostility?
  • Do South Africans regard the United States with friendliness or hostility?
  • Do South Africans regard China with friendliness or hostility?
  • Do South Africans regard the European Union with friendliness or hostility?
  • What is the identification of South Africans with the rest of Africa?
  • What is the identification of South Africans with the rest of the world?

Next up:
Datasets and recommended reading