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Disentangling Referendums and Direct Democracy: A Defence of the Systemic Approach to Popular Vote Processes


el-Wakil, Alice; McKay, Spencer (2019). Disentangling Referendums and Direct Democracy: A Defence of the Systemic Approach to Popular Vote Processes. Representation:Epub ahead of print.

Abstract

What is the relationship between referendum and initiative processes and democracy? The dominant understanding is that these popular vote processes are institutions associated with a model of direct democracy that stands in opposition to representative democracy. However, this pervasive approach is rarely justified and appears to limit the study of popular vote processes by focusing on implausible ideals, obscuring that many democratic institutions face similar challenges, and encouraging overgeneralising claims that neglect institutional variation in referendum and initiative processes. Previous criticisms of the association of popular vote processes with direct democracy have failed to clearly articulate an alternative. We trace the emergence of a democratic systems approach to popular vote processes and argue that it provides a better conceptual framework to empirically study and normatively discuss these processes.

Abstract

What is the relationship between referendum and initiative processes and democracy? The dominant understanding is that these popular vote processes are institutions associated with a model of direct democracy that stands in opposition to representative democracy. However, this pervasive approach is rarely justified and appears to limit the study of popular vote processes by focusing on implausible ideals, obscuring that many democratic institutions face similar challenges, and encouraging overgeneralising claims that neglect institutional variation in referendum and initiative processes. Previous criticisms of the association of popular vote processes with direct democracy have failed to clearly articulate an alternative. We trace the emergence of a democratic systems approach to popular vote processes and argue that it provides a better conceptual framework to empirically study and normatively discuss these processes.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Philosophy
Dewey Decimal Classification:320 Political science
Scopus Subject Areas:Social Sciences & Humanities > Sociology and Political Science
Uncontrolled Keywords:Sociology and Political Science
Language:English
Date:12 August 2019
Deposited On:27 Aug 2019 13:06
Last Modified:16 Apr 2020 00:07
Publisher:Taylor & Francis
ISSN:0034-4893
OA Status:Closed
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1080/00344893.2019.1652203
Official URL:https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/00344893.2019.1652203

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Content: Accepted Version
Language: English
Filetype: PDF - Registered users only until 19 August 2020
Size: 250kB
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Embargo till: 2020-08-19