This paper presents and discuses four main arguments for and against direct democracy, popular initiatives and referendums: (1) higher responsiveness versus lesser quality; (2) higher popular responsibility versus weaker representatives; (3) higher popular participation versus deeper conflicts: and (4) more transparency and enlightened understanding versus less confidentiality. The arguments are discussed in relation to general political goals of good government such as legitimacy, efficiency and stability. The basic thesis of the paper is that direct and representative forms of democracy are not exclusive. Much of the disagreement among those in favour of and in opposition to the introduction of more elements of direct democracy is caused by arguments that could be tested empirically and on more or less implicit assumptions about an either-or rather than a more-or-less of these forms of government. Nevertheless, fundamentally different conceptions of democratic representation also play a part.
Ikke Angivet, 2007
Main Research Area:
ECPR Joint Sessions, 2007
Department of Political Science, University of Aarhus