Topics in Politics and Public Policy: Deliberative Democracy

This course examines the theory and practice of democracy (in particular, deliberative democracy) and engages in a dialogue with critics. The course will discuss whether a democracy, which emphasizes people thinking and talking together on the basis of good information, can be made practical in the modern age. What kinds of distortions arise when people try to discuss politics or policy together? The course draws on ideas as well as criticisms from the jury literature, from the psychology of group processes, and from the most recent normative and empirical literature on deliberative forums. Case studies from the Deliberative Polling method and other deliberation methods, its applications, defenders, and critics, both normative and empirical, will provide cases studies for discussion.

Throughout the course, students will address how public participation is currently conducted around the world. As we have all seen in successful but more likely unsuccessful attempts to consult the public, this course will examine the various ways of consulting the public and how governments, media, and the public have responded and used these results. Students will gain in depth understanding of democratic theories, and in particular with deliberative democracy, through in-class debates, taking part in a modified version of Deliberative Polling, and engaging in dialogue with prominent democracy experts.

Session Two
Course is Full
at the time of application
on the first day of session
Scheduled Class Time*

08:00 AM - 11:00 AM (PDT)

*The course will meet for two hours daily (Monday–Friday) for a live class during this window of time. The exact time will be set closer to the program start. In addition to the live meeting times, students will engage in out-of-class learning assignments such as assigned readings, group work, pre-recorded online lectures, and more.