As you prepare for parliamentary debates, you might find the following resources helpful as you develop both a context for your arguments and for terminologies used in debates on current topics.
CQ Researcher Reports are published weekly on a topic of current interest. Reports include an introductory overview; background and chronology on the topic; an assessment of the current situation; tables and maps; pro/con statements from representatives of opposing positions; and bibliographies of key sources. Articles range from 1923-present. Browse by topic, by date, or search by keyword. With the number of years included, it may give you a way to look at how the attitudes and arguments have changed over time.
Congressional Digest Debates covers opposing views on current controversial issues. Documents are drawn from Congress, the Supreme Court, the United Nations and other international tribunals. The debates provide arguments for both sides of the debate, providing content, context, and common terms used in the debate
Stratfor is a news analysis provider that covers current political, economic, and military developments and can provide background material for debates with international implications.
Concise Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy is available online and in print in the library.
The following terms and definitions which are often used in debates may be helpful to you:
Psychology The scientific study of the nature, functioning, and development of the human mind, including the faculties of reason, emotion, perception, communication, etc.; the branch of science that deals with the (human or animal) mind as an entity and in its relationship to the body and to the environmental or social context, based on observation of the behavior of individuals or groups of individuals in particular (ordinary or experimentally controlled) circumstances.
(From: Oxford English Dictionary http://www.oed.com/view/Entry/153907?redirectedFrom=psychology#eid)
Behaviorism (also, operant or instrumental conditioning) is a form of learning in which an individual's behavior is modified by its consequences; the behavior may change in form, frequency, or strength. Operant conditioning is a term that was coined by B.F Skinner in 1937. Operant conditioning is distinguished from classical conditioning (or respondent conditioning) in that operant conditioning deals with the modification of "voluntary behavior" or operant behavior. Operant behavior operates on the environment and is maintained by its consequences, while classical conditioning deals with the conditioning of reflexive (reflex) behaviors which are elicited by antecedent conditions. Behaviors conditioned via a classical conditioning procedure are not maintained by consequences.
Classical conditioning (also Pavlovian conditioning or respondent conditioning) is a form of learning in which one stimulus, the conditioned stimulus or CS, comes to signal the occurrence of a second stimulus, the unconditioned stimulus or US. The US is usually a biologically significant stimulus such as food or pain that elicits a response from the start; this is called the unconditioned response or UR. The CS usually produces no particular response at first, but after conditioning it elicits the conditioned response or CR. Classical conditioning differs from operant or instrumental conditioning, in which behavior emitted by the organism is strengthened or weakened by its consequences (e.g. reward or punishment).
(From: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Classical_conditioning )
Psychoanalysis is a method of investigation of the mind and the way one thinks; a systematized set of theories about human behavior; and a form of psychotherapy to treat psychological or emotional distress, especially unconscious conflict. Based on interpretive methods, introspection and clinical observations. It became very well known, largely because it tackled subjects such as sexuality, repression, and the unconscious mind as general aspects of psychological development. Major proponent: Sigmund Freud.
Analytical Psychology emphasizes the wholeness through the integration of unconscious forces and motivations underlying human behavior. Analytic psychology employs the model of the unconscious mind as the source of healing and development in an individual and uses, as empirical evidence, the practice of an accumulative phenomenology around the significance of dreams, archetypes and mythology. Major proponent: Carl Jung.
Feminism is a collection of movements and ideologies aimed at defining, establishing, and defending equal political, economic, and social rights for women. In addition, feminism seeks to establish equal opportunities for women in education and employment. A feminist is "an advocate or supporter of the rights and equality of women." Feminist theory, which emerged from these feminist movements, aims to understand the nature of gender inequality by examining women's social roles and lived experience; it has developed theories in a variety of disciplines in order to respond to issues such as the social construction of sex and gender. Feminist activists campaign for women's rights – such as in contract law, property, voting, and reproductive rights for women. Feminist campaigns have achieved women's suffrage, equal pay for women, reproductive rights for women (including access to contraceptives and abortion), and the right to enter into contracts and own property in western societies and have worked to protect women and girls from domestic violence, sexual harassment, and sexual assault.
Social Justice is justice exercised within a society, particularly as it is exercised by and among the various social classes of that society. Social justice is based on the concepts of human rights and equality and involves a greater degree of economic egalitarianism through progressive taxation, income redistribution, or even property redistribution. These policies aim to achieve what developmental economists refer to as more equality of opportunity than may currently exist in some societies, and to manufacture equality of outcome in cases where incidental inequalities appear in a procedurally just system. Social justice is also a concept that is used to describe the movement towards a socially just world where all participate in the common good and all derive benefit.
Liberation Theology is a political movement in Christian theology which frames the teachings of Jesus Christ in terms of “liberation” from unjust economic, political, or social conditions. It has been described by proponents as a new interpretation of Christian faith through the poor's suffering, their struggle and hope. Detractors have denounced the movement as Marxist and may include the redistribution of land and wealth, either by a system of central government redistribution or the central government holding all property and wealth for the common good. Liberation theology began within the Roman Catholic Church in Latin America as a moral reaction to the intense poverty caused by the social injustice in the region. Liberation theology proposes to fight poverty by addressing its supposed source: sin. In so doing, it explores the relationship between Christian theology and political activism, especially in terms of social justice, poverty, and human rights. The principal methodological innovation is seeing theology from the perspective of the poor and the oppressed.