Title: Elections and Participation (790:303:B1)

Instructor: David Andersen

Instructor’s E-mail: davander@eden.rutgers.edu

Days, Times, Location: Session I (05/31/2011-07/08/2011); MTWTh 10:45-12:40pm HCK-202 DC

Synopsis: The Elections and Participation course addresses what the purpose of elections is, has been and could be in democratic governments.  While most Americans believe that elections are what make a government democratic, this course will question that assumption and take a broader look at the various forms of elections that can be and are used, as well as other forms of participating in government.  The overall course examines the processes whereby citizens (a) choose to participate in politics (or not); and (assuming they do choose to participate), decide which party and candidates to support. We will also consider whether people get anything from government (or politics) because of their participation. Throughout the course we will consider what democratic theory requires of citizens, and ask how well Americans generally live up to those requirements. The focus will be almost exclusively the American political system, and be concerned chiefly with national elections.