2023-2024 / SPOL2334-1

Practicing the political argumentation


30h Th, 15h Pr

Number of credits

 Bachelor in political sciences : general4 crédits 
 Master in multilingual communication (120 ECTS)5 crédits 


Geoffrey Grandjean

Language(s) of instruction

French language

Organisation and examination

Teaching in the first semester, review in January


Schedule online

Units courses prerequisite and corequisite

Prerequisite or corequisite units are presented within each program

Learning unit contents

The objective of this course is the acquisition of elementary concepts and principles of political reasoning. Building on numerous examples, it will introduce students to the field of debate and that which distinguishes it from other persuasive registers. The large groups and kinds of arguments will be described and their implementation considered in light of case studies. As much as possible, public players and/or experts and practitioners in the field will be invited to share their experience of debate and how it is adapted to different contexts. The students will moreover be introduced to building an argument and to its written and oral development.

As this is a course in the practice of political argumentation, theoretical and ex cathedra lessons are limited. Instead, many practical exercises are organised during the course sessions, in close collaboration with the teaching team.

A parliamentary deliberation is set up as part of this course. Three groups of students are formed: ministers, deputies and journalists. The Ministers draft decrees, the MPs amend and vote on them and the journalists comment on the parliamentary proceedings. A plenary session is organised in the Walloon Parliament at the end of the delibeeration.


Learning outcomes of the learning unit

By the end of the course, the students are expected to be able to :

- define and describe the terms and concepts deployed in the different parts of the course;

- describe different practices in political reasoning and what distinguishes them, especially according to their context;

- recognise arguments and counter-arguments in a discourse and describe them;

- reproduce the dynamics of a debate and different arguments deployed by its players;

- formulate a written argument;

- formulate an oral argument.

Prerequisite knowledge and skills

Planned learning activities and teaching methods

The learning activities and teaching methods are as follows:

- Theoretical lectures ;

- Practical exercises;

- Drafting of a decree, amendments or media productions;

- Drafting of a short protocol for the preparation of an argument (including four parts: invention, elocution, disposition and action) or a press kit;

- Oral presentations by students.

A detailed activity sheet is distributed to students at the beginning of the course.

Mode of delivery (face to face, distance learning, hybrid learning)

Face-to-face course

Additional information:

Face-to-face. Attendance is compulsory. Any unjustified absence will result in the withdrawal of one point from the final grade for each day of absence.

Recommended or required readings

Students are invited to consult the following reference: http://hdl.handle.net/2268/251068.
Recommanded readings :
- Breton Philippe, Convaincre sans manipuler. Apprendre à argumenter, Paris, La Découverte, 2015, 154 p.
- Joule Robert-Vincent et Beauvois Jena-Léon, Petit traité de manipulation à l'usage des honnêtes gens, Grenoble, Presses Universitaires de Grenoble, 2002, 286 p.
- Perelman Chaïm et Olbrechts-Tyteca, Traité de l'argumentation, Bruxelles, Éditions de l'Université de Bruxelles, 2008, 740 p.
- Plantin Christian, Dictionnaire de l'argumentation. Une introduction aux études d'argumentation, Lyon, ENS éditions, 2016, 634 p.

Exam(s) in session

Any session

- In-person

written exam AND oral exam

Written work / report

Continuous assessment

Additional information:

Exam(s) in session

Any session

- In-person

written exam AND oral exam

Additional information:

The evaluation is based on the following criteria:

- Regular speaking during the course and parliamentary work (50% of the final mark) is assessed on the basis of 1) the number of times spoken, 2) logos, 3) pathos, 4) ethos and 5) originality;

- Drafting a decree or amendments or making media productions, depending on the role chosen (30% of the final mark);

- The submission of a protocol for the preparation of an argument (containing the four imposed parts) or the submission of a press kit, depending on the role chosen (20% of the final mark);

Attendance at the course is compulsory. Any unjustified absence will result in the withdrawal of one point from the final grade for each day of absence. There is no exam in January.

For the second session, you are invited to contact the teacher.

Work placement(s)

Organisational remarks and main changes to the course

The course holds each year.


I am present at the University every day. Do not hesitate to contact me to meet me. You can contact me by email as I respond quickly.

When a question deserves, in my opinion, a collective answer, I will answer it during the next class session.

Here are my contact details:

Pr. Dr Geoffrey Grandjean

Faculté de Droit, de Science politique et de Criminologie
Place des orateurs, 3
4000 Liège
Boîte 11
Bureau 2.17
Tel. : +32 (0)4/366.96.60
Courriel : Geoffrey.Grandjean@uliege.be

Association of one or more MOOCs