Democratic Deliberation

R222 — Spring 2020

John Arthos
Days and Times
9:30-10:45 TR
Course Description

A lot of people think democracy is having one-person-one-vote, but a true and vibrant democracy requires citizens (not just their representatives) to deliberate and decide about matters of importance that affect everyone. This course is about that second part—about how to engage in deliberation and decision-making in a community. You have all been alive long enough to know how unfortunate it is when people do not know how to participate well in groups, and how valuable it is when they do. There are lots of techniques, tactics, strategies, competencies and norms that underlie good deliberation, so we are going to learn what those are, think about them, and practice them. This will include knowing the distinctive group roles in deliberative process, knowing how to develop an open, receptive, and collaborative deliberative climate, avoiding defective deliberative behaviors, managing conflict, setting goals and establishing principles and practices, detecting and working effectively with power dynamics within groups, and knowing how and when to show the right mix of leadership and collaborative skills. The course is structured around ten movies that display good and bad deliberative practice, and in-class deliberative exercises where you actually get to test these principles and practices out for yourselves.

Textbook: In Mixed Company, 10th Edition, J. Dan Rothwell