PSYC 345 Spring 2015 Political Psychology

Cross Listed as PSCI310
Political psychology studies human nature so as to understand politics. For example, many political philosophers begin their political programs by asserting some foundational claims about "human nature" which in turn led them to their justification for their vision of politics. For example, the enlightenment thinkers held that science and technology would strengthen rationality and thereby making democracy more viable. On the other hand, those who defend authoritarian regimes often do so by proclaiming that the general public is incapable of rationality and of self-rule and should therefor accept rule by their betters. Many of these arguments turn on how rational people are and on their capacity for and willingness to pursue justice for all people. We explore what psychology tells us about people as political citizens and as leaders. The course pays special attention to the powerful, but surprising, roles that emotions play in all aspects of politics. Central to politics is the general issue of judgment, and its more important variants, moral and political judgment. If we are to trust ourselves to rule ourselves, how well will we secure justice and liberty for one and all among us? Political psychology is one of the very oldest disciplines (it can be dated at least back to the early classic Greeks, among them Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle). The issue of citizen competence for self and collective rule, then as now, was at the center of their attention. So, it shall be in this course.
Class Format: lecture/discussion
Requirements/Evaluation: a midterm, a term paper, and a final exam
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Prerequisites: a PSCI elective at the 200 or 300 level OR PSYC 101, 212, 221, 232, 242, 251, or 300-level course
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Divisional Attributes: Division II
Other Attributes: PSCI American Politics Courses
Enrollment Limit: 25
Expected Enrollment: 13
Class Number: 3655
PSYC 345 - 01 (S) LEC Political Psychology Division 2: Social Studies George E. Marcus
TR 08:30 AM-09:45 AM Sawyer 508 3655
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