Download Constitutional Referendums: The Theory and Practice of by Stephen Tierney PDF

By Stephen Tierney

Using referendums around the globe has grown remarkably long ago thirty years and, specifically, referendums are at the present time deployed greater than ever within the payment of constitutional questions, even in international locations with very little culture of direct democracy. this is often the 1st booklet by way of a constitutional theorist to deal with the consequences of this improvement for constitutional democracy in a globalizing age, while a number of the older certainties surrounding sovereignty and constitutional authority are coming below scrutiny.

The e-book identifies 4 great constitutional tactics the place the referendum is often used at the present time: the founding of recent states; the production or modification of constitutions; the institution of complicated new types of sub-state autonomy, relatively in multinational states; and the move of sovereign powers from eu states to the eu Union. The ebook, as a learn in constitutional thought, addresses the demanding situations this phenomenon poses not just for specific constitutional orders, that are quite often based round a consultant version of democracy, yet for constitutional thought extra broadly.

The major theoretical concentration of the ebook is the connection among the referendum and democracy. It addresses the normal criticisms which the referendum is subjected to by means of democratic theorists and deploys either civic republican concept and the hot flip in deliberative democracy to invite even if via strong process-design the constitutional referendum is able to facilitating the engagement of electorate in deliberative acts of constitution-making. With the referendum firmly demonstrated as a fixture of up to date constitutionalism, the ebook addresses the foremost query for constitutional theorists and practitioners of ways may well its operation be made extra democratic in age of constitutional transformation.

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Extra resources for Constitutional Referendums: The Theory and Practice of Republican Deliberation

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Hutchinson and Colon-Rios contend that if they are given extensive institutional opportunities to participate in their own governance, people will cultivate a greater appetite and aptitude for political engagement. If domination breeds largely subservients, then democracy will beget mainly democrats. 47 41 Robert Goodin, Innovating Democracy: Democratic Theory and Practice after the Deliberative Turn (OUP 2008) 1. 42 Ethan J Leib, Deliberative Democracy in America: A Proposal for a Popular Branch of Government (Penn State University Press 2004) 35–40.

A third issue is to what extent the problems identified with referendums are in fact broader issues for democracy as a whole, whether representative or direct. Referendums, after all, emerge from broader systems of representative government. Furthermore, decision-making in large, pluralistic, and often divided democracies is by definition an imperfect exercise, and we should be attentive to any instances where referendums are singled out for criticism that is of more general application to the messy business of contemporary democracy.

Since these debates are informed by the particular democratic principles or traditions which are most meaningful to the intervener, conclusions can be heavily influenced by ideological predisposition. Therefore, before turning to specific critiques and in order to provide these with some additional contextualization, we need also to be attentive to the following issues and questions:  Principle or practice? In the contemporary literature we can distinguish between two main types of criticism. The first is that referendums are, as a matter of principle, an inherently undemocratic alternative to representative democracy—an argument that would exclude them entirely as an adequate tool of democratic decision-making.

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