Political Science, Communication Studies, politics, discussing politics
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Studies conclude that from 1990 to today, American society has become increasingly politically polarized, making cooperation among people who hold opposing views difficult and striking compromise on issues increasingly unlikely. Polarization is a major impediment to effective policy-making and communication; which is necessary for policy decision-making and implementation.
The first step to effective cooperation is an open conversation between opposing sides. This project seeks to determine methods, based on moral framing, that create an open conversation between proponents of opposing views on a given political issue. The national gun debate, gun rights versus gun control, was used to create political communication guidelines. Three speeches from proponents of each side were subjected to rhetorical analysis, revealing consistent moral frameworks that inform each side of the debate.
The speech analysis results informed blog posts used in a peer review to test if the application of moral framework theory changed a participant’s perspective on an argument they strongly disagreed with. The peer review exposed participants who supported gun control to blog posts advocating fro gun rights and participants who supported gun rights to blog posts advocating for gun control.
The results of this study were used to create a series of guidelines that would lead to more productive discussions between people with opposing political views. The goal of these guidelines is for participants to consider the opposing viewpoints in an argument, even if they do not adopt them. These guidelines were recorded in a video series on Youtube, “How to Discuss Politics Without Wanting to Kill Someone,” to be available to anyone.