POLITICAL KNOWLEDGE – A CHALLENGE TO THE CONTEMPORARY POLITICAL CULTURE IN BULGARIA
Political culture (civic education) is a part of the human culture and the society in general. It can be defined as „a system of consciously formed and permanently preserved views of values in public life and patterns of practical behavior that determine the place of the man in the political process, its relations with the other people and the positions of the citizen towards the institutions of power“. The structural elements that build the political culture are the values, the political knowledge and the political principles. Some researchers on the political culture theory point out the political knowledge as the most important element of the political culture. The political knowledge is „the information that the man possesses, and the methods used to process information related to the political values and then to form the political assessment of the significance of one or the other value“. This knowledge largely determines the rational choice and the level of the studied culture.
Bulgarian political culture is a subject of a number of studies conducted in various academic fields: history, philosophy, historical anthropology, sociology, political science. In some of the analyzes the authors conclude that the contemporary Bulgarian society needs an active network for civic education and civic culture. This has to be achieved through a real network, not through a centralized structure, and public educational institutions, political parties, trade unions, NGOs, various civic initiatives and movements must be covered by a broad and successful cooperation. In addition, it is noted that „the active citizen does not self-inflict, he needs an educational and pedagogical effort, and a good example and personal experience“.
Data from the European Social Survey (ESS) – fifth wave (2010) are mainly used in the analysis of the political awareness of Bulgarian citizens. The observation of political and current events, the declared overall interest in policy and citizens attitude towards the main political institutions are the indicators through which the general conclusions of the political awareness level are made. The data for Bulgaria on these issues are compared with the results for other countries participating in the ESS - the fifth wave (2010). The political activity is also considered as a prerequisite for a more precise definition of the level of political knowledge. The factors influencing the political awareness and the political behavior of the different social groups in the contemporary Bulgarian society are considered.
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