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School of Politics and International Relations

POL309 Making Democracy Work: Public Opinion, Representation and Information

POL309 Making Democracy Work: Public Opinion, Representation andInformation

Credits: 15
Semester: 1

Module Convenor: Dr Javier Sajuria

Description: Is it often said that democracy requires governments and representatives that are responsive to citizens' needs, and that are accountable for their actions. However, citizens are also often depicted as apathetic, uninformed, and easily influenced by demagogues and misinformation. This module will allow students to find out if these theories are relevant to understand democracy, and how are people's political views formed and modified. From there, the module will equip them with a critical understanding of what can be done to improve democratic representation. We will study how people think about political issues, how they form those opinions, and how political decisions (such as voting) are made.

We will also discuss some specific questions, such as: what drives ideological positions? Do people hold stable political opinions over their lives? How is gender related to political preferences? Can media change people's minds? Can elites? Is social class relevant to understand political behaviour? Do people really hold politicians to account during elections? What are our preferences in terms of political representation?

Assessment: Item 1: 40% Research design (1000 words) Item 2: 10% Student presentation (10 min) Item 3: 50% Examination (2 hours)
Level: 6

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