Introduction: The Elusive Concept of Culture and the Vivid Reality of Personality



As the articles in this special issue demonstrate, a central challenge for political psychology as a field of study is the question of how to go from our rich knowledge of individual psychology to the analysis of collective behavior, ranging from that of groups to whole nations. The powerful but also elusive concept of culture provides a promising bridge. However, the intellectual history of political culture has been one of wide swings in its popularity. After initially building on what turned out to be the over-sold promises of cultural anthropology, there was a sharp drop in the status of political culture studies, but this special issue shows that there is now a revival of interest in the approach, brought about by more disciplined uses of the concept.