Note: It is possible to take part in this course for students who have or have not attended Argumentation in Public Communication I. The two courses are complementary; no basic knowledge of argumentation is required to attend Argumentation in Public Communication II.
Argumentation in Public Communication II is organized as a laboratory course, with active involvement of all participants, to explore the profound interrelation between language, argumentative discourse and public communication (administrative rhetoric and public debate). This course introduces a method to analyse and design arguments and to evaluate them in a critical fashion (distinguishing, for example, between means-end argumentation, analogy, appeals to authority, and identifying implicit cultural premises). Strengths and weaknesses of each argument schemes will be discussed in order to show possible applications in public communication. Implicit cultural premises and framing strategies in public discourse will be also discussed.
The course is based on a discussion of a series of case studies within different contexts of public communication, ranging from public press releases, to policy documents, to NGO campaigns, to debates on crucial political issues and their echoes on the media. At the end of this course, students will have gained (a) the ability to evaluate which arguments are used in specific discourses and texts of public communication, knowing what is the hold of such arguments; (b) familiarity with the use of argument schemes to be used in the design of argumentative interventions; (c) knowledge about the relation between types of argumentation and types of institutional contexts. In order to familiarise with these aspects, students will be required to actively participating in classes, read texts in advance and engage in exercises and presentation, including experimental lessons such as a revision of the Lego Serious Play® methodology for the study of argumentation.
80% of the evaluation is based on a final oral exam, in which students will present and defend their own analysis of a case of public argumentation. The remaining 20% will be based on a presentation to be given during the course. Specifically, each student will be required to choose a scientific paper from a selection of resources about public communication viewed in the perspective of argumentation; he or she will present this paper to the class and stimulate discussion. A syllabus with more details will be provided at the beginning of the course.