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ETHICSOC 135R: The Ethics of Democratic Citizenship (POLISCI 135D)

We usually think about democratic citizenship in terms of rights and opportunities, but are these benefits of democracy accompanied by special obligations? Do citizens of a democracy have an obligation to take an interest in politics and to actively influence political decision making? How should citizens respond when a democracy¿s laws become especially burdensome? Do citizens of a democracy have a special obligation to obey the law? In this course, we will read classical and contemporary political philosophy including Plato's Crito and King's "Letter from a Birmingham Jail" to explore how political thinkers have understood and argued for the ethics of citizenship. Students in this course will draw on these materials to construct their own arguments, and to identify and assess implicit appeals to the ethics of citizenship in popular culture and contemporary public discourse, from The Simpsons to President Obama's speeches.
Last offered: Winter 2016 | UG Reqs: WAY-ER
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