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Date of Award


Document Type

Thesis - Pacific Access Restricted

Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)



First Advisor

Paul Turpin

First Committee Member

Marlin C. Bates

Second Committee Member

Jon Schamber


This study examines politics disadvantages used in competitive policy debate. Specifically, this research examines politics disadvantages for their role and relevance in deliberation, an important form of political communication. Deliberation is the means by which citizens can engage in discussions of salient policy issues, and make political judgments about policies.

This study developed a grounded theory about the type of deliberation manifest in politics disadvantages. Pre-constructed politics disadvantages from websites such as,, as well as from summer policy debate workshops were analyzed to develop a grounded theory. Through the process of coding and theoretical memoing, categories of political communication emerged from the disadvantage shells. The theory indicated that politics disadvantages develop an acontextual, narrowly adversarial view of deliberation. This theory was juxtaposed against already established theories of deliberation to reveal that politics disadvantages show serious deficiencies in the ways in which deliberation is taught to policy debaters.



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