The purpose of this course is to explore issues related to public opinion, including what opinions are and how they are formed, what factors do and do not influence opinion development and change, how opinions drive citizens' political thinking and behaviour, and what implications these psychological processes have for the role of public opinions in democratic government. Students will leave the course with a thorough theoretical understanding of political opinions, their origins, and their possible effects through exposure to philosophical perspectives, contemporary case studies, and a broad set of empirical research. The course will challenge assumptions about what democracy is and how it works, explore what it means to be a good citizen in a contemporary democracy, and provide students with insight into how democratic governments can and should respond to the public's views. The focus will be on how citizens form political opinions, think and reason about policy debates, and act on their opinions, especially outside of elections, across a broad array of country contexts.

    Teacher: Picture of Thomas Leeper