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Instructions This assignment will give you an opportunity to take a closer look
Instructions This assignment will give you an opportunity to take a closer look at a specific course topic, or a theme that runs throughout the course. 8-10 pages in length (not including your title page and reference page). The essay should be double-spaced, 12-point font. You can write more if you want to. I have no problem with that, and I don’t want you to feel that length is a limitation. However, a shorter essay may not fulfill all the assignment requirements and that may lower your mark. There are four topics to choose from, plus a “design your own topic” option (please see topic list for details; select only one topic). Essay Topics 1. Polarization and insecurity in modern democratic states The increasing polarization of political culture in democratic states is a hot topic in political studies. Some academics, journalists, and politicians even question whether democracies can continue to survive in places where polarization becomes particularly high and citizens may no longer recognize common realities and facts. In this course, we look at polarization from a few different perspectives: as a phenomenon with deep roots in modern European cultural and intellectual traditions that still shape political debate in western countries today. as a problem generated, in part, by economic inequality, globalization, and other factors which make “illiberal” democracy appealing to many people. as something fueled by both traditional media (e.g., TV news outlets) and social media. Through this essay assignment, you will have an opportunity to look at how two (or more) of these perspectives on polarization can be brought together to help explain a case of polarization that you will research. It can be a case from Canada, the United States, or Europe and it should come from the last decade or so (e.g., the debates over “fake news” and truth during the Trump presidency, the debates over religious symbols and secularism in Quebec, debates over academic freedom, just to take a few examples). The aim of this essay will not be to take a side in whatever case you select. Instead, the main goal will be to analyze the sources and reasons for polarization in the case you select while using theories and resources studied in this course. Please write an essay that fulfills the following requirements: 1) Explain at least two of the perspectives on polarization above. Use resources and course readings from Modules 2, 9 and 10, as is appropriate. You must use course resources here, but you can also introduce other academic or journalistic sources (please consult with me first if you want to do this). Value: 10 marks 2) Identify and describe a case of polarization. Include enough detail that I can understand the most significant points of the case. You will need to find at least two journalistic sources for this case (they must come from major news outlets with editorial policies that involve verifying sources). If you want to use non-conventional media to illustrate your case, that is fine, but these won’t count as your two sources. If you have any questions about this, please let me know. Value: 5 marks 3) Apply the perspectives on polarization you discussed in the first part of your essay to this case. Articulate how these perspectives help to explain the conflicts and tensions presented by this case. For example, if you are discussing anti-mask protests that are based on suspicion of government and medical “elites” and a secret corporate agenda, explain how the perspectives that you selected help us understand where these views might be coming from and why they are convincing to those who believe them. Value: 7 marks The remaining 3 marks are for proper academic documentation and formatting. Please note: this is not a grade for your “writing.” Quality of writing can impact on an overall essay grade in different ways, so it isn’t included here. Also, please note that an essay without citations will be returned and I will ask you to resubmit. I am not able to grade an essay that does not cite sources. The minimum penalty for submitting a paper without citations is the full loss of these 3 marks. A late penalty of 5% per day may also be applied until I receive the submission again.

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