(Mis)Information and Democracy - 05
SOC 0149 - 05
The legitimacy of democracy hinges on voters having sufficient accurate information to make meaningful decisions on their own behalf when they enter the voting booth. This has never been as simple as we might hope: the ideal of the informed citizenry has been thwarted by gatekeeping, public relations, propagandists, the silencing of marginalized voices, conspiracy theories, and the misuse of statistics (intentional and unintentional). Even so, we have reached a crisis in our information environment. Heightened political polarization, an endless array of venues generating news and news analysis, and new information and communications technologies that dramatically increase the speed and scale at which misinformation can be circulated have proven fertile ground for information pollution. The outcome is a populace that is ideologically selective in determining what information is trustworthy and resistant to facts that belie our political proclivities. In this interactive and timely course we will examine the sources and targets of misinformation, the social contexts in which misinformation thrives, the consequences of its prevalence, and issues of responsibility and regulation. We will also devote considerable attention to possible paths forward as individuals trying to make sense of the world around us and as a political culture in need of revitalization. Throughout the semester, students will weave together knowledge gleaned from academic research, related writings from NGOs and think tanks, current events, and their own curated information environments.
Basic Enrollment Requirements: Unofficial Transcript – Bachelor’s Degree, or progress towards a Bachelor’s Degree + 3.0 GPA.
Instructor Approval: Not Required.
Remission Eligible: Yes; first day of term; all university policies apply.
Refund Policy: Course Policy 1
School of Arts & Sciences