Book presentation: The Culture of Accountability: A Democratic Virtue

Meet the new book by NU GSPP Associate Professor & Vice Dean for Academic Affairs Riccardo Pelizzo: The Culture of Accountability. A Democratic Virtue

NU GSPP Associate Professor & Vice Dean for Academic Affairs Riccardo Pelizzo and Italian political scientist, Professor Emeritus of Political Science at the University of Bologna Gianfranco Pasquino recently released the book The Culture of Accountability. A Democratic Virtue.

Over the years, the literature on accountability has attempted to define what accountability is, how it can be secured, and whether horizontal accountability is preferable to electoral accountability in some (non-properly democratic) settings. It has also been argued that the notion of accountability is relatively new and primarily the result of institutional conditions. The Culture of Accountability challenges some of these views. It suggests that accountability is a process and not an event, that it is a democratic virtue, that electoral accountability is essential in settings that are not perfectly democratic, and that the notion of accountability is not as recent as some authors seem to believe. The level of accountability in a country depends not only on institutional factors but also on cultural ones–and in doing it shows that some facets of culture have a more significant impact than others.

The newly released book explores the cultural conditions that favor political accountability. It examines the channels through which accountability can be secured, and the role accountability plays in ensuring good governance. In addition to problematizing the notion of accountability, the book suggests that it is the product of three different— albeit related — processes:

  • Taking account of voters’ preferences
  • Keeping account of voters’ preferences
  • Giving an account of one’s performance in the office

It further explores the relationship between accountability and political culture by analyzing the relationship between accountability and religion, religious denomination, familism, civicness, secularism, and postmaterialism, revealing that the level of accountability is influenced by the diffusion of post-material values and by the level of civicness in a given country.

This book will be of critical interest to scholars, students, and practitioners in governance, the political economy of institutions and development, democracy, and, more broadly, political science, international relations, political theory, comparative politics, sociology, and cultural studies.

Chapter 1 of this book is accessible in PDF format as Open Access from the individual product page at Read more about the book here.


  • November 8, 2022, 17:45 (Astana time)
  • Nazarbayev University, Block C3, room 1010
  • Register here