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Direct Democracy Worldwide

 
Direct Democracy Worldwide
 

Direct Democracy Worldwide

David Altman

Hardback, 55 £
ISBN:9781107001640
Publication date:March 2011
264pages
Dimensions: 234 x 156 mm
 
 
 
 
 
 

Abstract

Direct Democracy Worldwide addresses the relationship between direct and representative democracy in the contemporary world and uncovers the specific conditions under which they can be mutually reinforcing in democratic or less democratic systems. It demonstrates that direct democracy is Janus-faced: some mechanisms of direct democracy look forward in an attempt to democratize politics, whereas others look backward, enhancing the power of the politicians who deliberately use them. When it does the latter, instead of giving power to the people, it further subjects the people to the powerful.

Challenging the common assumption that models of direct democracy and representative democracy are necessarily at odds, Direct Democracy Worldwide demonstrates how practices of direct and representative democracy interact under different institutional settings and uncovers the conditions that allow them to coexist in a mutually reinforcing manner. Whereas citizen-initiated mechanisms of direct democracy can spur productive relationships between citizens and political parties, other mechanisms of direct democracy often help leaders bypass representative institutions, undermining republican checks and balances. The embrace of direct democracy is costly, may generate uncertainties and inconsistencies and in some cases is easily manipulated. Nonetheless, when properly designed, it can empower citizens breaking through some of the institutionalized barriers to accountability that arise in representative systems.

Editorial Reviews

"David Altman illuminates the world of democracy beyond the election of representatives and offers an empirical analysis of global scope that challenges the widespread view that representative and direct democracy are necessarily incompatible forms of democracy. Indeed, no one does a better job than Altman at walking us through the conceptually complicated issues associated with the variety of possible mechanisms of direct democracy and submitting arguments about direct democracy to a thorough empirical testing. And the overall result is a fresh look at the old questions of representation and governance. Direct Democracy Worldwide should be read by anyone who is unsatisfied with a Dahlian conception of democracy and who wants to understand how responsible citizen participation can-and should-be encouraged."
-Gerardo L. Munck, University of Southern California

"This book offers a new, original comparative analysis of direct democracy. In doing so, it reshapes the debate on the interactions between representative and direct democracy in the contemporary world, and at the same time demystifies the most recurrent apprehensions regarding this interface by taking the reader to places where neither the advocates nor the opponents of direct democracy want to go. Everyone interested in such a classic topic should read the book and accept to have her own ideas changed by it."
-Leonardo Morlino, Instituto Italiano di Scienze Umane; President, International Political Science Association

"An incisive, measured, and richly informed analysis of uses and abuses of mechanisms of direct democracy. As the authoritative treatment of this theoretically and politically important topic, Altman's book is as indispensable contribution to democratic theory."
-Adam Przeworski, New York University

"Direct Democracy Worldwide by David Altman offers a vitally insightful perspective on direct democracy. Altman's dichotomy of plebiscites into 'bottom up' initiatives that strengthen citizens' control over policy and 'top down' mechanisms that often serve as little more than expressions of authoritarian power sets the research agenda on direct democracy for decades to come. The book combines cross national analysis of direct democracy with case studies, featuring especially the emblematic case of Uruguay. It will serve as a useful introduction to the comparative study of direct democracy for graduate students, and for advanced undergraduates. It also presents important research results that corroborate Altman's dichotomy of direct democratic institutions. One only hopes that policy makers will carefully attend to this important work."
-John Londregan, Princeton University

 

Table of contents

1.  Direct Democracy at the Turn of the Century
 
1.    What Constitutes Direct Democracy? Definition and Typology
7
2. The Devil Is in the Details: Institutional Requirements and Constraints on Mechanisms of Direct Democracy
18
3.     Organization of the Research
26
2.  Terms of the Debate Surrounding Direct Democracy
32
1.   Democracy Is More than Simply Free and Fair Elections
32
2.    Do Mechanisms of Direct Democracy Represent More and Better Democracy?
41
3.    Summary
58
3.  Myths and Facts behind the Use of Mechanisms of Direct Democracy: A Worldwide Analysis
60
1.  Global Trends in the Use of Mechanisms of Direct Democracy since 1900
62
2.  Uses of Mechanisms of Direct Democracy within Different Regimes
65
3.  Explaining the Reasons behind the Use of Mechanisms of Direct Democracy
70
4.    Conclusions
86
4.  Direct Democracy within Nondemocratic Regimes
88
1.  Relevance of Mechanisms of Direct Democracy in Nondemocratic Regimes
89
2.    Disobeying History
97
3.    Final Remarks
108
5. Direct Democracy within Weak Democracies: Some Cases from Latin America
110
1.    Direct Democracy in Latin America
112
2.    Direct Democracy within Inchoate Party Systems
135
3.    Final Remarks
138
6. Direct Democracy within Democracies: The Case of Uruguay (Historic Evolution and Voting Behavior)
140
1.   Historical and Legal Context of Direct Democracy
142
2.  Confidence Votes on Government or Political Loyalties?
147
3.   Final Remarks
160
7. Uruguayan Citizen-Initiated Mechanisms of Direct Democracy as Agents of Vertical Accountability
162
1. Stressing the Complexity of Social Phenomena:
    Objectives, Methods, and Hypotheses
162
2. Why Are Some Mechanisms of Direct Democracy
    Successful?
167
3. Why Do Some Citizen-Initiated Mechanisms of
    Direct Democracy Fail?
175
4. The Other Side of the Coin: Presidents’ Views on
    Direct Democracy
180
5. Conclusions
186
8   Conclusions
188
1. Main Findings and Contributions
188
2. The Road Ahead: Alternative Explanations and Avenues for New Research
201
Appendix
203
1.  Mechanisms of Direct Democracy Worldwide (1984–2009)
204
2.  A Census of Uruguayan Legislators on Citizen-Initiated Mechanisms of Direct Democracy
209
References
213
Index

Auteurs et appartenances institutionnelles

David Altman is Associate Professor of Political Science at the Pontificia Catholic University of Chile and editor of the Revista de Ciencia Politica. He is an Associate Researcher for the Uruguayan National Agency for Research and Innovation, was the winner of the Junior Post-Doctoral Scholarship in the Study of Democracy Competition of the Woodrow Wilson Center and the Ford Foundation and was previously a Guest Researcher Assistant Professor at the Helen Kellog Institute for International Studies. His recent work has appeared in Electoral Studies, Party Politics, Democratization, The Journal of Legislative Studies and PS-Political Science and Politics.

Références bibliographiques ou publications associées

David Altman, Direct Democracy Worldwide, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2011

Date de publication ou de début de la recherche
19 Aprile 2012
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