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Political Debate


Admission requirements


This course will provide an introduction into historical and theoretical literature about political debate. We will review and discuss literature and also actually compare theory and practice, as this course also contains two practical elements: a debating course provided by a professional coach from the Nederlands Debat Instituut and a series of lectures by politicians, ex-politicians, and journalists. Students will learn to analyse historical political debates, get an introduction into debating skills and discuss the nature of political debate with (ex)politicians such as former president of the Tweede Kamer Frans Weisglas. We will also visit the Chambers in The Hague and have a debate with Members of Parliament.

Course objectives

Knowledge and understanding of the history, theory and practice of political debate.

Time Table

See course-schedule

Mode of instruction

Lecture and tutorial; attendance is compulsory

Assessment method

Written reviews of literature, preparation of debates with politicians, short final paper.

Reading list

  • Bootsma, P., Hoetink, A.C. Over lijken. Ontoelaatbaar taalgebruik in de Tweede Kamer (Amsterdam 2006)

  • Tackett, T., Becoming a revolutionary. The deputies of the French National Assembly and the emergence of a revolutionary culture (1789-1790) (Princeton NJ 1996) 117-313;

  • Mergel, T., Parlamentarische Kultur in der Weimarer Republik: politische Kommunikation, symbolische Politik und Öffentlichkeit im Reichstag (Düsseldorf 2002) 428-485

  • Turpijn, J.J.B., Mannen van gezag: de uitvinding van de Tweede Kamer (1848-1888) (Amsterdam 2008)

  • Velde, H. te, ‘Spelers en spelbrekers. De beschaving van de Tweede Kamer’ in De negentiende eeuw: documentatieblad werkgroep 19de eeuw vol. 30 (2006) 35-47;

  • Matthew H.C.G., ‘Gladstone rhetoric and politics’ in: P.J. Jagger ed., Gladstone (Londen 1998) 213-234

  • Velde, H. te, Het theater van de politiek (Amsterdam 2003)

  • Eemeren, F.H. van; R. Grootendorst, Kritische discussie (Amsterdam 2000) 127-230

  • Wolthuis, B., ‘Het spelkarakter van het parlementaire debat’ in R&R: rechtsfilosofie en rechtstheorie 3 (2007) 12-33

  • Chilton, C., Analysing Political Discourse. Theory and Practice (Londen 2004).


See enrolment-procedure


With the tutors: Prof.dr. H. te Velde and prof.dr. T. van Haaften