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Theory, Topicality & Framework

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Hey all,

Can someone explain the differences between theory, topicality, and framework, what each is trying to achieve, how to debate for and against each, and especially how they are used to win debates + do you need to respond to all of your opponent's offense and provide your own on each?

Thanks,

Rniv

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Simplest versions of each, feel free to expand.

Theory is essentially a thing or group of things that should be made "rules" or standard practices. This is rare in my district in policy, but it is exceptionally common in LD. Stuff like, 'K's are cheating,' 'Conditional advocacies are bad,' 'Forcing the negative to defend status quo is bad.'

 

Topicality is determining whether or not the affirmative's action, plan, or advocacy is topical, which, depending on the debate, may or may not even matter. Some eschew topicality as unimportant, but that is only in exceptionally high-level rounds, usually with exceptionally complex and nuanced positions, addressing nuanced and complex social issues. 

 

Framework in LD acts sometimes as an impact filter, giving a weighing mechanism to what kinds of impacts are more important. Policy framework is usually about what impacts matter as well, but also functions at higher levels that I am not super familiar with. Role of the Ballots and Role of the Judges, fall into Framework by determining what kinds of arguments should be judged and voted for.

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Hey all,

Can someone explain the differences between theory, topicality, and framework, what each is trying to achieve, how to debate for and against each, and especially how they are used to win debates + do you need to respond to all of your opponent's offense and provide your own on each?

Thanks,

Rniv

 

To answer the last question (since EndlessFacepalm got the rest of it), yes, you do want to respond to all of your opponents offense and provide your own. With T/FW/Theory debates, turns are really important. 

 

"Oh you say our K aff is uneducational? Fucking good! Your type of education is bad!" 

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Framework in LD acts sometimes as an impact filter, giving a weighing mechanism to what kinds of impacts are more important. Policy framework is usually about what impacts matter as well, but also functions at higher levels that I am not super familiar with. Role of the Ballots and Role of the Judges, fall into Framework by determining what kinds of arguments should be judged and voted for.

To clarify: Policy framework in cx falls under the same way that EndlessFacepalm described theory. It becomes a proposed set of rules for debate, and usually is along the lines of "Interpretation: The Affirmative should defend hypothetical enactment of topical governmental action". This is usually seen as a weaker and more bland argument ran vs. K Affs (In my opinion, it's not, good f/w teams are fun to watch <insert Westminister FG here>.) Albeit, policy frameworks are not the only kind of framework out there, but I'm not too familiar with the "Race F/W's" or the Bataille F/W that was discussed in a thread a while back. With that being said, framework debates can fall on either the neg or the aff. (The example already given was for neg vs. a K Aff) there is a much less effective version ran on the aff that claims the negative should defend a competitive policy option (cp) or the squo. It's relatively easy to beat because of neg ground loss and the infinite prep of the aff. 

 

TLDR; Policy FW says K/K Aff = Cheating

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This is usually seen as a weaker and more bland argument ran vs. K Affs (In my opinion, it's not, good f/w teams are fun to watch <insert Westminister FG here>.) 

uhh... This is only true according to bougie K Peeps. Framework for most middle of the road and policy teams is the go to. 

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uhh... This is only true according to bougie K Peeps. Framework for most middle of the road and policy teams is the go to.

 

Yeah, especially since most decent FW teams say you can read your K stuff as long as you have a plan text so the neg can actually have links to DA's and stuff.

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Yeah, especially since most decent FW teams say you can read your K stuff as long as you have a plan text so the neg can actually have links to DA's and stuff.

 

"b-b-but ur advcoacy statement isn't a plan-text done by the USFG! I don't get my links to terrible spending/ lying IR DA's so ur cheating hardcore hippies" 

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Yeah, especially since most decent FW teams say you can read your K stuff as long as you have a plan text so the neg can actually have links to DA's and stuff.

ftfy

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Theory is the opposite of so-called substance.

 

Theory is deciding how the debate goes down (rules and principles and purposes) from a procedural way.  Its usually a question of inclusion or exclusion of a given practice or way of viewing debate (or prioritization vs. de-prioritization).

 

Each argument subset has theory.

 

1) Framework and role of the ballot and K theory I think are all rolled into one.

2) Counterplan theory

3) Politics DA (theory).  Theres not a lot of this.  Most of it goes back to what fiat looks like or is (aka how we define and operationalize fiat in the debate context).

4) Topicality

5) Misc. other theory

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3) Politics DA (theory).  Theres not a lot of this.  Most of it goes back to what fiat looks like or is (aka how we define and operationalize fiat in the debate context).

 

there's more when you add other kinds of politics DAs like some teams (GBN) do. Like Sacred Cow DA, the Hastert Rule DA, Riders DAs, and any disads with rollback components are all theoretical questions [dealing with durability of fiat etc]. The general agenda politics disad is usually commonly accepted and most theory that is read on it is usually a time suck or a cheap shot. I've only seen one team drop theory cheap shots (Logical policymaker, perm do both) against us, and they were losing all over the flow anyway (usually if you're dropping obvious cheap shots you're also dropping a hell of a lot more). 

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there's more when you add other kinds of politics DAs like some teams (GBN) do. Like Sacred Cow DA, the Hastert Rule DA, Riders DAs, and any disads with rollback components are all theoretical questions [dealing with durability of fiat etc]. The general agenda politics disad is usually commonly accepted and most theory that is read on it is usually a time suck or a cheap shot. I've only seen one team drop theory cheap shots (Logical policymaker, perm do both) against us, and they were losing all over the flow anyway (usually if you're dropping obvious cheap shots you're also dropping a hell of a lot more). 

There are a lot of different schools (not literal schools, but schools of thought rather) that disagree with the politics DA. And both Riders and Hastert are politics DAs.

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Hey all,

Can someone explain the differences between theory, topicality, and framework, what each is trying to achieve, how to debate for and against each, and especially how they are used to win debates + do you need to respond to all of your opponent's offense and provide your own on each?

Thanks,

Rniv

All of them are actually theoretical arguments meaning that they are a way we should structure and/or interpret the debate. 

 

I think theory and topicality have been broken down fairly well so I'm going to harp of framework for a bit.

 

My lab leader always described Framework as the way we "frame our work". this probably seems different from what you have seen. What this means is it is the way we should structure our debates. So when a team reads a Framework argument against an antiblackness aff they usually say that we (as in the debaters) should frame our Work(or arguments) through a normative implementation of a topical plan. BUT this isn't the only kind of framework. Some teams will try and frame the debate around x issue. So for example If a team reads a 1 off queer theory k, they may call for the debate to be framed around the positionality of the queer body. The neg will set of their framing arguments through a few ways.

 

A) Role of the ballot: This is one of the most important framing considerations in a debate. dropping can be devestating (but Not always. Its best to answer it though) The role of the ballot determines what the ballot should signify or what the ballot is a tool for. This usually becomes a big part of debates especially k debates because it determines where the judge should put his/her/their intellectual resources towards. So for example if a team reads a role of the ballot saying that the judge who votes for the team who best performatively and methodologically breaks down antiblackness and the team wins that means the judge will divert their intellectual resources towards the breaking down of antiblackness so they will then proceed to evaluate the round with that in their mind.

 

B) Role of the Judge: This is how the judge should view the debate. so if the role of the judge is for the judge to evaluate this debate as an ethical decision maker then they will look and evaluate the arguments presented through an ethical lens. (what that means should hopefully be defined but you get the idea) 

 

these are only 2 small parts that make up framing or "framework" but if you start to understand the way in which they are deployed in round then it will make more sense in its different variations 

Edited by philiburgers

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There are a lot of different schools (not literal schools, but schools of thought rather) that disagree with the politics DA. And both Riders and Hastert are politics DAs.

Oh I know, however, the most common one, the agenda ptx da (sometimes just referred to as ptx), is generally more accepted by most teams and judges than the Rider and Hastert disads which operate off of differing terms of fiat. We've (for the most part) come to accept Agenda PTX, however Riders and Hastert are more often theoretically disputed.

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