Research on Tocqueville's thoughts of democratic culture

Hu, Yong (胡勇) .   Wuhan University (People's Republic of China) ProQuest Dissertations Publishing,  2002. H028783.

Abstract (summary)

Tocqueville's special contributions to political science are mainly as followings: In respect of normative theory, he defines the meaning of social despotism or tyranny of public opinion; in empirical statement, he puts forward the comprehensive "mores"(social culture atmosphere of democracy) theory in the background of modern democratic society. This thesis tries systematically to analyze and evaluate his democratic culture thought, which is the core of his mores theory, using the concept political culture of modern political science. This thesis is composed of three parts.Firstly, this thesis studies the academic context and social origin of Tocqueville's democratic culture thought. It is raised after the forefathers' political culture thoughts and his mores theory. And it socially results in the menace to liberty possibly brought about by equalization of modern society, that is concerned with by Tocqueville.Secondly, the thesis sums up how Tocqueville expounds profoundly democratic culture. Regarding to its source, it originates from equality, which is the main feature of modern social system, and influenced by the trend of political thoughts popularly in the democratic society. In its external form, it shows some characteristics such as rationalism, secularism, materialism, individualism, standardization and uniformity etc. in its aspect of political consequences, democratic culture affects political decision--making and revolutionary frequency, and is the psychological cause of governmental despotism, social despotism and welfare state.And then, the thesis analyses how Tocqueville advances the idea of how to remould democratic culture on the basis of the insights into its mechanism. The principle of remoulding is the combination of egoism and altruism, namely, the principle of self--interest rightly understood. The means of remoulding is the application of educational function of political freedom, supposing individual freedom is justly safeguarded. The ways of remoulding is to make citizens accept political education by means of using a set of social institutions. The goal of remoulding is, depending on political education exerted on citizens, to develop their civic virtune suitable for modern society, that is guided by the sense of freedom. It is Tocqueville's creative idea concerning political education as one of agents of political socialization, that is from beginning to end of this part. Finally, the thesis conclusively discusses the theoretical innovations and the practical enlightenments of Tocqueville's democratic culture thought. Its contributions theoretically are showed in general theory of political science, modernization theory, political culture theory, paradigm conversion of political study and political philosophy of liberalism. And its practical enlightenments are showed in, with reference to some refined ingredients of Tocqueville's democratic culture thought, how to make the political culture and the idea of political education in contemporary China march forward more smoothly into the course of modernization in the setting of modernization and market economy.

Alternate abstract:


Indexing (details)

Political science
0615: Political science
Identifier / keyword
(UMI)AAIH028783; Social sciences; 公民美德; 托克维尔; 政治教育; 政治文化; 民主文化; 民情; 自由词
Research on Tocqueville's thoughts of democratic culture
Alternate title
Hu, Yong (胡勇)
Number of pages
Degree date
School code
DAI-C 71/22, Dissertation Abstracts International
Place of publication
Ann Arbor
Country of publication
United States
Yu, Chong Sheng (虞崇胜)
Wuhan University (People's Republic of China)
University location
Peoples Rep. of China
Source type
Dissertation or Thesis
Document type
Dissertation/thesis number
ProQuest document ID
Database copyright ProQuest LLC; ProQuest does not claim copyright in the individual underlying works.
Document URL