Communication and Culture | Discussion and Decision Making
C225 | ALL | --


MW, 1:00 PM-2:15 PM, WI C111 (#6228)
TR, 11:15 AM-12:30 PM, WI C109 (#6229)

Fulfills College S&H Requirement

Instructors: Peter Zhang (xianzhan@indiana.edu)
	     Jeff Motter (jbmotter@indiana.edu)

This course considers the challenge of participatory public
discussion and decision-making in our democracy. As such, this
course is premised on the idea that individuals and groups are
always bound up in public institutions and vocabularies that both
constrain action and provide possibilities for action. We will take
up contemporary approaches to democratic discussion and decision
making in pursuit of more vigorous and dynamic deliberative
practices. To do this we will explore the possibilities and
limitations of discussion in a democracy through course readings and
discussions. Our classroom is not only learning about discussion and
decision-making but will also enact it.

In a pluralistic society we confront issues of difference that
enhance our democratic public culture; however, these differences
often result in disputes about how we make our world. Some argue
that in a democratic society reaching a consensus is the goal of
discussion and decision-making; however, the purpose of this class
is to, first, recognize the impossibility of reaching consensus in a
democratic society. Second, we will explore the role civil society
can play in enhancing our understanding of democratic decision-
making. Third, we will discuss the role of perspective in any
decision-making process. Finally, we will discuss how we can go
about making decisions given the limitations and possibilities of
our liberal democratic public culture.