The New Challenge of Direct Democracy

The New Challenge of Direct Democracy

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Direct democracy involves citizens in discussion and decisions about what the government is to do, rather than leaving this to officials or parliaments. It thus challenges the restrictions placed by representative democracies, such as Britain and the United States, on political consultation and popular participation. Why should responsible adults not take public decisions as well as making their own individual choices? One affects them just as much as the other. However, can ordinary citizens make good public policy? Many lack education and expertise and may not even be interested in politics. Even without these individual defects, mass debate may by its very nature lead to arbitrary or bad decisions. This book confronts these arguments in the light of new communication developments which, for the first time, make direct democracy technically feasible in a mass society. This is an account of the possibility of the direct involvement of citizens in the governance of their own affairs.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 210 pages
  • 152 x 229 x 25.4mm | 453.59g
  • Polity Press
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 3 figures, 6 tables, bibliography, index
  • 0745612318
  • 9780745612317

Table of contents

Mass participation and its feasibility; direct and representative democracy; new answers to old (and new) criticisms; participation in practice; citizens and parties under direct democracy; structural problems and constraints; from rhetoric to reality.show more

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