Political Science - Student Works

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    Universal design at MacEwan
    (2020) Hildebrandt, Shawn; Hills, Melissa; Overend, Alissa
    This executive summary reports on highlights and thematic takeaways from interviews conducted at MacEwan University over July and August of 2019 on the subject of Universal Design for Learning (UDL). UDL differs from the system of accommodation for students with disabilities as it exists now. In the system of accommodation, supports like alternative textbook formats and time and a half for exam writing are given to a particular student in order to support them in the learning environment. Whereas in UDL, the learning environment itself is changed to fit all students, and all of the learning supports that exist as accommodation are extended to everyone’s access if they need it. And so the accommodation system is a part of UDL, is included within it, but does not map on to it entirely. We interviewed 9 people who work in an administrative capacity at MacEwan in a variety of roles relevant to the discussion of student learning. Some of the participants also work as faculty in a teaching capacity or have worked as faculty during some part of their careers. The main theme arising from the interviews is the lack of an overarching, institutionally-guided UDL framework at MacEwan. Conditioned from the main theme, arose the following subthemes: the inconsistent understanding of UDL amongst both faculty and staff; the attitudes of students with existing accommodations as a barrier to UDL; the ambiguity of what UDL means for mental health issues; and the necessity of UDL “champions” to promote UDL.
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    Applied political philosophy: combatting the dangers of transhumanism by placing human dignity in the battle over bioethics and human enhancement in America
    (2018) Mailloux, Cole; Murphy, Gaelan
    The desire for human enhancement dates back to the initial conception of human civilization. For thousands of years we have continuously attempted to enhance physical and mental capabilities through various means, sometimes with inconclusive, comic, or even tragic results. The industrial and technological revolutions alleviated many of our social and individual health requirements, but also intensified our desire for enhancement. However, up until this point in human history, most biomedical advances, whether successful or not, merely attempted to restore things that were perceived to be deficient, such as vision, hearing, or mobility. Inventions that have attempted to improve on nature, such as anabolic steroids or Ritalin, have been relatively modest, incremental, or detrimental to overall long-term human health. Regardless, recent scientific and technological developments in areas such as biotechnology, information technology, and nanotechnology, humanity appears to be on the cusp of an enhancement revolution (Masci, 2016, para 3). If, or more likely when it comes, this societal transformation will be prompted by continuous efforts to aid people with disabilities and heal those who are diseased. While biomedicine is constantly making rapid progress in new restorative and therapeutic technologies, these could in turn have immense implications for human enhancement.
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    Democracy in the information age: the new political enigma
    (2018) Tuttle, Devin; Boucher, Jean-Christophe
    The introduction of the Internet to the toolkit of political campaigns has cardinally altered the landscape of democratic elections. As the Internet has expanded so has the level of information it brings alongside, where the amount of data produced in 2017 outweighs the entirety of human societies. Prior to the Age of Information, society has been limited in their capacity to access information, now we are purview to information glut; with unprecedented information comes unprecedented consequences. Data has provided a means for institutions to accumulate, calculate, and nudge human interaction based on predictive analytical techniques where this compendium of information, produced through the Internet, has reduced citizens into analytical nodes. But what is the long run impact of a future predicated on predictive analytics, where individuals are compiled into grand data sets and outcomes are the result of scaled data operations? This paper seeks to rectify this question. When applied to the democratic process, how will political campaigns utilize this technology to advance their campaigns? What is the impact of Big Data and predictive analytics on individual autonomy and how does this contribute to an increasingly fragmented society?
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    Democracy in the information age: the death of consciousness
    (2018) Tuttle, Devin; Boucher, Jean-Christophe
    The Information Age has produced a society where data has become the principal commodity; where citizens are valued by the information they can provide to institutions. When applied to the democratic process, how will political campaigns utilize this technology to advance their campaigns? What is the impact of Big Data and predictive analytics on individual autonomy and how does this contribute to an increasingly fragmented society? The 2008 United States Presidential election instituted a new norm of political practice. The early stages of predictive analytics, provided by user generated data, enabled the campaign to isolate subsets of potential voters and persuade them into active participants. As the norm of quantitative campaigning became increasingly entrenched, the 2016 Trump campaign would demonstrate the current apex of its application. Utilizing sophisticated Big Data analytics, with support from Cambridge-Analytica and the Giles-Parscale agency, the Trump campaign created individual behavioral profiles of over 215 million voters. Who they would then strategically target to mobilize or de-mobilize the population in fault line States. The advent of the Internet enabled the development of mass scale data operations; when applied to quantitative marketing techniques, it allows for legacy institutions to strategically manipulate individuals to their preferred outcome. The predictive analytical techniques, that have been embedded throughout democratic societies are directly contributing to an increasingly fragmented society. As legacy institutions obtain more data they will increase their capacity to manipulate populations; changing the nature of political consciousness and contributing to an increasingly fragmented polis.
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    Behaviourism and governance: a world bereft of freedom and politics
    (2017) Ziegler, Micheal; Murphy, Gaelan
    Today’s world is a world of bureaucratic governance and not of politics. In this context, the purpose of a government is not to engage in politics, but rather to engage in control and order, and to create a world in which people follow and appear to be free. This paper explores the notion that a dominantly bureaucratic state is not one in which the people are free. Through a hermeneutic analysis of certain texts that discuss how such a form of governance comes from and why it does not allow for freedom. Richard Rorty’s Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature and Alasdair MacIntyre’s After Virtue. Rorty’s text focuses on the benefits of behaviourism as a means of knowing the way in which people are and MacIntyre’s work focuses on the shortcomings of behaviourism and the social predictive sciences, and how they effect bureaucracy and government. With a hermeneutic analysis on these texts I have developed a proper and substantive defence of behaviourism and its relation to bureaucratic governance. Once the argument has been properly established, the fallacies within it can be examined and the fundamental argument that people can be controlled as animals, removing their freedom and eliminating politics, can be properly critiqued and dismissed.