Discourse, Debate, and Democracy: Readings from Controversia: an International Journal of Debate and Democratic Renewal

Discourse, Debate, and Democracy: Readings from Controversia: an International Journal of Debate and Democratic Renewal

Discourse, Debate, and Democracy: Readings from Controversia: an International Journal of Debate and Democratic Renewal

Discourse, Debate, and Democracy: Readings from Controversia: an International Journal of Debate and Democratic Renewal

Synopsis

Discourse, Debate and Democracy is an anthology of articles, taken from Controversia (the academic journal of the International Debate Education Association), that speak to the central issues of the roles of discourse and debate in democracies. The volume is divided into two parts. Part One looks at the theoretical and pedagogical relationships among argumentation, debate, and democracy. Part Two offers case studies of public argument in "(possibly) renewing" democracies as well as "(possibly) emerging" democracies; the topics of the case studies include the U.S. war in Iraq, the treatment of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay, democratization trends and possibilities in various parts of the Arab world, and the Russian experience with democratization and reaction in the 1990s.

Excerpt

This volume is composed of selected articles from the first three years of the semi-annual journal, Controversia: An International Journal of Debate and Democratic Renewal. Perhaps the best way to introduce this volume is to first introduce the reader to Controversia and then to frame the specific articles from the journal that are reprinted herein. and perhaps the best way to introduce the journal is to revisit our initial “Introducing Controversia” from volume one, number one (2002). Following that, we will layout the articles reprinted in this book.

I. From “Introducing Controversia”

Controversia: An International Journal of Debate and Democratic Renewal is the semi-annual academic journal of the International Debate Education Association (IDEA); IDEA’s mission—premised on the recognition that “free and open discussion is essential to the establishment and preservation of open and democratic societies” —is “to offer students and teachers the opportunity to examine issues affecting their lives and their communities; to create broad and inclusive debate clubs that encourage participation by all segments of the population, including ethnic minorities; and to establish independent national debate associations to promote, organize and sustain debate activities in each country.” Classroom experience in debates on issues of contemporary relevance, as well as perhaps more extensive training in debate through debate clubs and teams, are a vital step in the creation and renewal of free and open discussion in an open society, but the training in argumentation, analysis, refutation, and advocacy engendered through debate pedagogy cannot stop at the schoolhouse walls. Rather, debate and engagement in the public issues of one’s time must infuse public practices and the public consciousness before a society can sustain genuine openness and a functioning democracy. As an academic journal, Controversia is dedicated to the scholarly examination of theoretical, historical, critical, and practical concerns relative to the furtherance of cultures of democratic communication and the ideals of open societies.

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