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The European Union and Beyond

Democratic Innovations through Direct Democracy: What is the Relation between Direct Democracy and Representative Democracy?

Panel Number
Panel Chair
Zoltán Tibor Pállinger
Andrássy Universität Budapest
Panel Co-Chair
Theo Schiller
Philipps-Universität Marburg

Against the background of the current crisis of democracy direct democracy is often proposed as an antidote to the shortcomings of representative democracy. Aside from fostering participation, direct democratic procedures also alter the ‘representative game’ firstly by opening possibilities for introducing proposals from outside the representative arena. Secondly, depending on their frequency of use, direct democratic procedures may also have an impact on elite-mass-relations, requiring changes in elite behaviour. Thirdly, direct democratic instruments may also have an impact on the political output, enhancing – in the best case – system performance and the quality of outputs. However, the relationship between direct and representative democracy is multifaceted. The overall effect of direct democratic instruments on the political system depends on the interaction with other institutions. Their potential for innovation in a given political system can only be fully realised when they are attuned to the overall institutional framework. Concretely, this panel would like to analyse the relation between direct democracy and representative democracy. How have these innovations challenged, transformed, or accommodated representative democracy? What kind of issues, otherwise neglected, can be introduced to the political arena by direct democratic instruments? Which conditions must prevail to make direct democracy work? Finally, also the normative points of reference to introduce direct democracy have to be taken into consideration. We invite scholars to discuss these questions from a comparative European perspective. We would like to learn about the implications of direct democracy on representative democracy and its institutional alignment. Although there are examples of direct-democratic instruments on local, regional, national and also supranational level, the question under what circumstances, under what conditions and on which level of governance direct democratic instruments can contribute to enhance the quality and legitimacy of policies has to be further inquired.

Paper List

Title Details
Direct and Deliberative Democracy Effects: Venezuelan Case View Paper Details
Direct Democracy in Switzerland: Depoliticisation Through the Referendum Practice View Paper Details
Innovations in Direct Democracy View Paper Details
Systemic and Contextual Constraints to Self-Government in Participatory Procedures View Paper Details
The Ever-Contested Referendum? How Politicians Cope with the Consequences of Referendums View Paper Details
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