Priority influence of socio-cultural factors on development of public governance

Lviv Regional Institute for Public Administration of the National Academy for Public Administration under the President of Ukraine

Problem setting. Public administration in Ukraine is an integral part of social system, but it needs to be modernized efficiently. This implies the need for a deep understanding of the current situation and a thorough analysis of the main factors of this development, especially socio-cultural ones.

Recent research and publications analysis. Laws, principles and factors of choice, which are characteristic of administrative processes, particularly  public administration, have been researched in numerous works of modern Ukrainian scientists, such as V. Atamanchuk, E. Afonin, V. Bakumenko, V. Knyazev, Y. Kovbasyuk, A. Kolodiy, A. Lipentsev, P. Petrovsky, Yu.  Surmin.

The question of the importance, or even the priority of the influence of socio-cultural factors on all processes of development of social life, has been raised by such famous thinkers as M. Weber, P. Sorokin, M. Crozier, P. Bourdieu, M. Halbvachs, and G. Hofstede.

Highlighting previously unsettled parts of the general problem. Public administration is a new area in the humanitarian cycle of Ukrainian science. It is multidisciplinary in nature, and it is new because of the dramatic changes that are taking place in post-totalitarian society. Most of the scientific and theoretical studies during all years of independence were conducted within the framework of the scientific field, which inherited all theoretical and methodological installations of Soviet science. Its main task was to assert and strengthen the stability of the management system on the basis of Marx’s theory of ideas, according to which the socio-economic factors of society were considered crucial. Therefore, the purpose of this scientific article is to substantiate the priority role of socio-cultural factors in the process of development of public administration in Ukraine.

Paper main body. The article focuses on the idea that socio-cultural factors underlying social development perform the integral function in society. The author uses the concepts of “social space” and “social dynamics” by P. Sorokin, “social field” by P. Bourdieu and the ideas of Max Weber and Michel Crozier about a crucial role of raising the level of culture in society and the development of individual personality.

The market economy is based on the activity of a man, an active creator of culture, and requires the development of such important qualities as initiative and responsibility. The processes of democratic development involve consideration of the problem of political activity, the formation of relevant political institutions, the legal system and an integrated system of public administration. Both economic and political processes are socio-cultural by their nature. They function effectively through a system of social interconnections or social capital, according to Pierre Bourdieu. The main driving force of both economic and political development is a human resource. The level of education and cultural development in general is a determining factor in all processes of social dynamics, including the economic and political subsystems.

The author offers his own classification of the main socio-cultural factors influencing the development of public administration on the basis of all aforementioned ideas. In her opinion, the historical factor is at the heart of any process of society. Understanding the complex social system at the present stage of existence of the Ukrainian state and the system of public administration, in particular, is impossible without a deep historical excursion and analysis of the processes of formation of public consciousness.

The following three factors in the classification are grouped into a subgroup called “social and psychological base of public administration”. The three main components of this socio-psychological base are: 1) mentality, 2) collective memory, 3) national and cultural identity. The author defines mentality as a special way of thinking inherent in a particular community and as a system of values, according to which people live, collective memory as an active past that shapes national identity on the basis of social traditions, values and ideals of the social group with which people identify themselves. This leads to the conclusion that cultural and national identity, formed in a certain socio-cultural environment, is based on a conscious choice and depends on the rational awareness of the individual, ethnic group, nation of shared historical, political, and civic values.

This group of factors directly influences the formation of the worldview of the society, which is a defining socio-cultural factor at a higher, visible level. Its core is a certain value coordinate system through which the civic culture of society is laid, the specificity of economic activity is manifested and social capital is formed. They directly influence the system of public administration in the complex of social interaction defining its quality. This means that they are the main socio-cultural factors for its development at the functional level.

Conclusions of the research and prospects for further studies. The main conclusion of this scientific article is that socio-cultural factors play a leading role in the overall impact on the development of society and the public administration in particular. Cultural qualities formed in the course of historical development are manifested in all achievements of human civilization, which all form a socio-cultural space, characterized by its own original mentality, collective memory and national-cultural identity. The next factor is our own public outlook with a unique value system formed on this basis. It manifests itself at the level of social interaction in society and directly influences the formation and quality of public administration through the action of socio-cultural factors such as civic culture, economic activity and social capital.

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