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Critical Inquiry: influences on the policy making process (Project 3)

While projects #1 and #2 focused on production of practical policy communications, project #3 focuses on critical examination of the policy making process. This course objective, critical inquiry, is intended to stimulate reflective and theoretical consideration of influences that shape everyday procedure and established practice. Each time the course is offered, the focus of critical inquiry will change. In Spring 2005, the focus is on corporations as participants in US and international public policy making.

A critical perspective on governmental decision-making argues that corporations, especially large corporaations, have excessive influence. From this perspective, large corporations abuse democratic public process when they exercise rights they have acquired by court decision as 'persons' in US law. It is said that orporate personhood subverts constitutional democracy. It might be asked 'how does this work in everyday public discourse and governmental process of defining public problems and publicly deliberating solutions?

Communication products

Written responses to readings, and interactive discussion with other readers


Below, guide you in critically considering claims, interpreting historical evidence, constructing varied types of evidence, and arguing positions in discussion to consider corporate influence in American and international public policy.

Week 14 (4/11)

- respond to readings in Ritz

- lead group discussions of readings

- conduct qualitative research (records search or observation and interpretation) to develop evidence supporting your critical reflection prompted by readings

Week 15 (4/25)

- continue as in week 14


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