This volume analyses how the use of referendums affects the central functions and characteristics of representative democracy. It provides a balanced account of the interaction between referendums and representative institutions and actors, seeking to evaluate whether referendums supplement or undermine representative democracy. Considering both normative and empirical questions, the volume also examines the particular circumstances under which referendums strengthen or weaken representative democracy.
Providing a variety of theoretical and methodological approaches used in the study of referendums, this book is divided into three sections: Referendums and the Models of Democracy, The Demand of Referendums: Party Ideologies and Strategies, and Referendum Campaigns and Voter Behaviour. It features case studies on Ireland, Israel, Canada, California, Italy, Liechtenstein, Switzerland, the Nordic Countries, the Netherlands, Spain and the EU Constitutional Treaty. In addition to system-level evaluations of referendums, studies on the ideological attitudes of political actors and strategic use of referendums, the volume also provides analyses of referendum campaigns and voters’ choices in referendums. Covering referendums on European integration, the volume also demonstrates how supra-national governance gives rise to the demand of referendums.
This volume will be of interest to students and scholars of political science, political theory, comparative politics, and European studies.
1. Introduction Maija Setälä SECTION I: Referendums and the Models of Democracy 2. From People’s Veto to Instrument of Consensus: the referendum experience in Ireland Bill Kissane 3. Stabilisation versus Destabilisation: Direct democratic Instruments in different political Systems: The cases of California Italy Liechtenstein and Switzerland Wilfried Marxer and Zoltán Tibor Pállinger 4. The Surge of Referendums and the New Politics Approach Tor Bjørklund SECTION II The Demand of Referendums: Party Ideologies and Strategies 5. Elite Motivations for Initiating Referendums: Avoidance Addition and Contradiction Gideon Rahat 6. To Structure Political Conflict: the Institutionalisation of Referendums on European Integration in the Nordic Countries Nick Sitter 7. Party Positions on the Referendum in the Netherlands Ank Michels SECTION III Referendum Campaigns and Voter Behaviour 8. Intense but Useless? Public Debate and Voting Factors in Two Referendums in Spain Joan Font and Elisa Rodriguez Ortiz 9. Checks and Balances in Direct Democracy Fritz Sager and Marc Bühlmann 10. Voting NO: The Negative Bias in Referendum Campaigns Lawrence LeDuc 11. Conclusion Theo Schiller