The Politics of Referendum Use in European Democracies

Authors: Hollander, Saskia

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  • Provides a cross-country comparison of referendum provisions and their frequency in 28 European countries
  • Uniquely links referendum practices to democratic theory
  • Argues that referendums are instruments for political elites rather than the people
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  • ISBN 978-3-030-04197-7
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Hardcover $84.99
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  • ISBN 978-3-030-04196-0
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  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
About this book

This book demonstrates that the generally assumed dichotomy between referendums and representative democracy does not do justice to the great diversity of referendum types and of how referendums are used in European democracies. Although in all referendums citizens vote directly on issues rather than letting their political representatives do this for them, some referendums are more direct than others. Rather than reflecting the direct power of the People, most referendums in EU countries are held by, and serve the interests of, the political elites, most notably the executive. The book shows that these interests rarely match the justifications given in the public debate. Instead of being driven by the need to compensate for the deficiency of political parties, decision-makers use referendums primarily to protect the position of their party. In unravelling the strategic role played by national referendums in decision-making, this book makes an unconventional contribution to the debate on the impact of referendums on democracy.

About the authors

Saskia Hollander is a political scientist and Director of Knowledge Management at The Broker, a knowledge brokering organisation in the field of inclusive politics and economies, based in The Hague, The Netherlands. Her previous publications include the edited book Creative Crises of Democracy (with J. Gijsenbergh, T. Houwen and W. de Jong, 2012).

Reviews

​“Hollander’s The Politics of Referendum Use in European Democracies is an inspiring and informed book. It is a rare example of a study that combines scholarship with a popular touch. Both experts and ordinary voters should read this book.” (Matt Qvortrup, author of Government by Referendum and co-editor of The European Political Science Review)

“Hollander’s wonderful book is a feat of topical and high-quality comparative research. Looking at countries such as the UK, France, Denmark, Sweden and the Netherlands, she convincingly shows that European referendums are often elite-driven and better understood as a succession of single-events rather than an ever-growing expression of public power.” (Frank Hendriks, author of Vital Democracy: A Theory of Democracy in Action, and Professor of Comparative Governance at Tilburg University, The Netherlands)

Table of contents (10 chapters)

Table of contents (10 chapters)

Buy this book

eBook $64.99
price for USA in USD (gross)
  • ISBN 978-3-030-04197-7
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: PDF, EPUB
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Hardcover $84.99
price for USA in USD
  • ISBN 978-3-030-04196-0
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
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Bibliographic Information

Bibliographic Information
Book Title
The Politics of Referendum Use in European Democracies
Authors
Copyright
2019
Publisher
Palgrave Macmillan
Copyright Holder
The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s)
eBook ISBN
978-3-030-04197-7
DOI
10.1007/978-3-030-04197-7
Hardcover ISBN
978-3-030-04196-0
Edition Number
1
Number of Pages
XVII, 345
Number of Illustrations
30 b/w illustrations
Topics