Contemporary Issues Of Political Culture

It is an attitude that suggests a political naivety, a lack of understanding about the uncomfortable presence of the checks and balances that need to go alongside political leadership in a modern council. Scrutiny is absolutely a place for the political direction of the executive to be challenged – on the basis of evidence. Scrutiny is an inherently “political” space but it should not be overtly party political – it should provide the opportunity for different priorities and motivations for action to emerge and be discussed.

As a result there has been growing interest in alternative ways in which the distribution of resources may be justified in the region, beyond claims based on labour and production. James Ferguson has called for scholars to keep their ‘ears to the ground’ to listen to the way people in Southern Africa make alternative claims. This article attempts to meet this call using an ethnographic case study of an agricultural extension programme in a rural Malawian village. Officially the Farm Input Subsidy Programme targets Malawian farmers who are unable to produce crops. In the village though the distribution was based on a very different logic; it marked the relations of dependence that existed between villagers and their chief.

The enduring strength of a liberal free trade political culture has been repeatedly emphasised. This unit responds to these developments by examining the nature of political culture and communication in the years traditionally seen as those in which modern British politics was made. The common denominator is usually the intermediary position of local politicians between populations and different kinds of centralized authority. I will argue that the local is the principle place where political order of the borderland is generated. It is the space where local and regional politicians, opinion leaders and groups act as gatekeepers between the state, the vitality of the local arena, and the transnational sphere.

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