Class 00 - The map of the course
The first class illustrates (a) the object and goal of the course; (b) the available resources; (c) the learning path.
Essential backing: Dunn, Ch. 1
Planned date: 2020.09.23
Module A - THE CONTEXT
Contexts are the space-time regions where policy arguments take their shape and, ultimately, wither as nondecisions or thrive as the motivation of policy designs. Moreover, contexts are the major source of reasons for the practical implausibility of the argument. The module introduces the issue of relevant contexts from the threefold perspective of the policy actors, of the policymaking process, and of the governance structures within which the process unfolds.
Essential backing: Dunn, Ch. 2 and 9 + Box 3.1
2020.09.24 - Class 01 - The stake of the policymaking: substantive policy tools as solutions to policy problems
2020.09.25 - Class 02 - The policymaking cycle: an overview
2020.09.30 - Class 03 - Unbounded rational decisions, their actors and structures
2020.10.01 - Class 04 - Bounded rational decisions, their actors and structures
2020.10.02 - Class 05 - Second-best decisions, their actors and structures
2020.10.07 - Class 06 - Disjointed incrementalism, its actors and structures
2020.10.08 - Class 07 - Analytic tools to define contexts
2020.10.09 - Class 08 - Group-work: identify your policy context
2020.10.14 - Class 09 - Group-work: identify your policy context
2020.10.15 - Class 10 - Presentations, review, and discussion
Module B - THE CONTENT
The immediate worth of a policy argument lies in its capacity of mobilizing interests, justifying choices, promoting agreements. A policy argument, however, is as tenable as the theory that it conveys about the reasons for a state of affairs and the ways to improve it. The module narrows on the causal core of a policy argument, explicates its constituting elements, and introduces students to the minimal algebra that formalizes its structure.
Essential backing: Toulmin et al., parts II-V; Dunn, Ch.8; Duşa, Ch.3
2020.10.16 - Class 11 - The soundness of policy arguments: claims and grounds
2020.10.21 - Class 12 - The soundness of policy arguments: warrants, rules, and backings
2020.10.22 - Class 13 - The strength of policy arguments: qualification and rebuttals
2020.10.28 - Class 14 - The strength of policy arguments: presumptions, quandaries, and relevance
2020.10.29 - Class 15 - Argument fallacies: missing, irrelevant, defective grounds
2020.10.30 - Class 16 - Argument fallacies: poor warrants and ambiguity
2020.11.04 - Class 17 - Wrapping up: Policy arguments as provable causal structures
2020.11.05 - Class 18 - Classwork: gather enough information to support an argument for a debate
2020.11.06 - Class 19 - Classwork: structure your policy argument and publish it
2020.11.11 - Class 20 - Defend your argument, discuss others', and rate all.
Module C - EVALUATING TENABILITY WITH QCA
The module introduces Qualitative Comparative Analysis as a suitable technique for the systematic possibilistic evaluation of the tenability of a policy argument.
Essential backing: Dunn, Ch. 6 and 7; Duşa, Ch. 4-8.
2020.11.12 - Class 21 - Configurational renderings of policy arguments
2020.11.13 - Class 22 - Measurement issues
2020.11.18 - Class 23 - Turning attributes into sets, with special attention to outcomes
2020.11.19 - Class 24 - Parameters of fit to necessity and sufficiency
2020.11.20 - Class 25 - Truth table analysis and minimizations
2020.11.25 - Class 26 - XY plots: visualizing solutions
2020.11.26 - Class 27 - Group-work: replicating a QCA study
2020.11.27 - Class 28 - Group-work: replicating a QCA study
2020.12.02 - Class 29 - Group-work: replicating a QCA study
2020.12.03 - Class 30 - Presentations, review, and discussion
2020.12.04 - Class 31 - Wrapping up
(Please always check https://bit.ly/PolDAE
Module D - ESTABLISHING TENABILITY WITH FREQUENTIST STRATEGIES
The module introduces students to a suite of quasi-experimental techniques as strategies of reference for the probabilistic assessment of the tenability of a policy argument.
Essential backing: Dunn, Ch. 4 + further readings
Schedule and materials will circulate in due time.