18 November, 2007

Analysis motions

Analysis motions/debates

An analysis motion is a motion in which no mechanism is required. The first prop team, instead, sets the perimeters of the debate and teams work within that framework.

For example:

THBT, with hindsight, the state of
Israel should never have been created.

First prop is not required to give a mechanism for dismantling
Israel, the debate is simply whether the last 50 odd years would have been better or worse has Israel never been set up. In this debate, first prop should look at the people affected. For example, the impact of the state of Israel on Jews in Israel, Jews as a group around the world, the Palestinians, the wider Middle East and the World as a whole.

Another analysis motion might be:

THBT feminism has failed.

In this situation, 1st prop looks at what feminism tried to achieve (formal equality, social equality, freedom of choice, autonomy for women etc) and the debate is the extent to which feminism has achieved its goals.

Just as in a normal debate, the model that first prop introduces can make or break the debater in terms of quality, so the definition and narrowing down in an analysis debate is of equal importance.

If first prop does not narrow the scope the debate, all that happens is teams spend forty minutes swapping examples without actually engaging with each other at all.

The opposition should be looking at directly tackling the issues identified by first prop. If first prop have said “We will win this debate on points 1, 2 and 3”, this is the primary context in which the opposition should work. If op tries to expand the debate it could become messy.

Be aware, analysis motions are becoming increasingly popular on the circuit again. At the moment, if a debate is to be an analysis debate, it is virtually always explicitly flagged as such. If you are not sure whether a debate is an analysis debate or not, you should run it in the normal manner (ie: mechanism)

In short

  1. An analysis motion does not require a mechanism.
  2. First prop should define the areas upon which the debate will be focussed
  3. Opposition should, generally, work within these boundaries
    1. The only exception to this is if prop have framed the debate in deliberately prop heavy terms that ignore the core of the debate. E.g. that the third Reich should be judged solely on the performance of the public transport system. The op should then expand the frame of reference by adding ‘regional peace’ or ‘human rights’.

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