Syllabus

Title
0325 Civil Society: Navigating Collaborations and Conflicts in the Pursuit of the Common Good
Instructors
Leila Cornips, MSc., Julia Litofcenko, BA, MSc (WU)
Type
PI
Weekly hours
2
Language of instruction
Englisch
Registration
09/05/23 to 09/10/23
Registration via LPIS
Notes to the course
Dates
Day Date Time Room
Wednesday 11/15/23 03:00 PM - 05:30 PM D2.0.038
Wednesday 11/29/23 03:00 PM - 05:30 PM TC.3.07
Wednesday 12/06/23 09:00 AM - 01:00 PM D5.1.003
Wednesday 12/06/23 02:30 PM - 06:30 PM TC.3.10
Wednesday 12/13/23 02:30 PM - 06:30 PM TC.4.04
Wednesday 01/10/24 03:00 PM - 05:30 PM TC.3.07
Wednesday 01/17/24 02:30 PM - 07:00 PM TC.4.03
Wednesday 01/31/24 02:30 PM - 06:00 PM TC.4.04
Contents

The course explores the political dimension of civil society, which is conceptualized as a sphere where people organize to pursue shared interests and thereby pursue the common good. We investigate how this organizing process and channeling of collective grievances takes place, how the voice of civil society is incorporated into public institutions, and what the challenges and limits to civic action are.

In the first part of the course, we investigate local governance networks and the collaborations and conflicts between the actors within these networks. We study how different positions are formed within civil society, and how these are transformed into concrete policies through negotiation and institutionalized political processes. Through simulations, the students get to experience the values and political stances of various societal actors.

In the second part, we study urban commons and solidarity within cities. For this part of the course, students map an area of Vienna to explore places of solidarity versus places of exploitation in detail.

The third part of the course is devoted to the study of the representation of civil society in the media. The analysis of newspaper articles on current social issues is supported by methods of theater pedagogy.

Students will be introduced to the topics by reading the relevant scientific literature in preparation of the classes. The time in class will be used to clarify and discuss the content, and most importantly, to explore the basic insights from theory in an interactive manner. To do so, we heavily rely on in-class simulations, interactive exercises, and debates. For instance, students will step into the shoes of politicians to negotiate policy outcomes with one another and experience challenges and opportunities in political processes. The course requires students’ courageous participation in activity-based and collaborative learning through gamification methods.

Learning outcomes

At the end of the course, students will…

      1. …be able to reflect on how civil society can change the rules of the game and link theory to individual experiences;

      2. …know the basics of framing theory, and can apply those to critically analyze news content;

3. …be aware of how social change can be brought about through more or less institutionalized channels;

4. …be skilled to formulate a political position;

5. …be able to reflect on conflicting interests in the political arena;

6. …know how to negotiate policy outcomes within governance networks;

7. ...be able to recognize commons and their effects in an urban environment.

Attendance requirements

An attendance of 80% or more is required to pass the course. Attendance in the sessions on 6.12.2023 and on 17.1.2024 is mandatory, as those sessions are the basis for the reflection papers.

Teaching/learning method(s)

Students will be introduced to the topics by reading the relevant scientific literature in preparation of the classes. The time in class will be used to clarify and discuss the content, and most importantly, to explore the basic insights from theory in an interactive fashion. To do so, we heavily rely on interactive teaching methods as well as in-class simulations. For instance, students will step into the shoes of politicians to negotiate policy outcomes with one another and experience the challenges and opportunities that arise within political processes. The course requires students’ active participation in activity-based and collaborative learning through gamification methods.

The course will be taught in English, therefore basic communication skills in English are required. However, being fluent in oral communication is no requirement. Average English skills as taught in high school (equivalent to a B2 level in reading, writing, speaking and listening according to the CEFR standards) are sufficient.

Assessment

1. Active participation in class (20%);

2. Questions on Learn, to check the understanding of readings in preparation for the interactive sessions (20%);

3. Short reflection papers (1.000 - 2.000 words each) on the interactive sessions (2 x 20%);

4. Conducting critical mapping, write a reflection paper about it and present the results in class (5 - 10 min) (20%).

Readings

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Last edited: 2023-07-18



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