In public communication, most activities and interactions (oral and written) are characterized by argumentation, as actors are committed to be accountable for their decisions and give reasons for their claims. Argumentation in Public Communication I (3 ECTS) is specifically focused on the argumentative discussion as a means to resolve disagreement through reasonable dialogue; taking into account that well-conducted argumentative interactions ideally increase the quality of communicative exchanges, as they allow avoiding conflict and manipulation. This course will equally provide students with theoretical and methodological tools to identify different types of argument schemes that can be used in support of a given standpoint, thus providing more robust instruments of analysis and design of communicative interventions in the field of public communication.
This course adopts a bottom-up approach, based on the analysis of empirical data (documents, oral discourses) in the field of public communication and on the design of argumentative (oral or written) discourse in specific situations relative to public communication and administrative rhetoric. Students will learn both to analyse and to design argumentative texts (oral or written), focusing on a delicate balance between the critical requirement of resolving disagreement in a reasonable fashion and the attempt to persuade others and win one’s cause. Classes will allow significant space for students’ discussion, group-work, and guided controversy in order to see how argumentation works in practice. Within the general framework of public rhetoric, a special accent will be placed on two key issues: conflict resolution in (public) organizations and argumentation in Swiss semi-direct democracy.
Evaluation is as follows: 15% based on an exercise of design of argumentative texts to be submitted during the course; 10% based on active participation to the class discussion; and 75% based on a final oral exam including the contents of the course plus discussion of some reading materials. A syllabus with more details will be provided at the beginning of the course.
For those who wish to know more about argumentation and the tools for analysing arguments in different domains of public communication, the additional course Argumentation in Public Communication II will be offered in SA 2017.
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