By Stephen Tierney
Using referendums world wide 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 nations with very little culture of direct democracy. this can be the 1st ebook through a constitutional theorist to deal with the results of this improvement for constitutional democracy in a globalizing age, whilst a number of the older certainties surrounding sovereignty and constitutional authority are coming lower than scrutiny.
The ebook identifies 4 sizeable constitutional techniques the place the referendum is frequently used this present day: the founding of latest states; the production or modification of constitutions; the institution of complicated new versions of sub-state autonomy, quite in multinational states; and the move of sovereign powers from eu states to the ecu Union. The publication, as a learn in constitutional conception, addresses the demanding situations this phenomenon poses not just for specific constitutional orders, that are in most cases based round a consultant version of democracy, yet for constitutional idea extra broadly.
The major theoretical concentration of the booklet is the connection among the referendum and democracy. It addresses the traditional 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 no matter if through strong process-design the constitutional referendum is able to facilitating the engagement of electorate in deliberative acts of constitution-making. With the referendum firmly confirmed as a fixture of latest constitutionalism, the ebook addresses the foremost query for constitutional theorists and practitioners of the way may its operation be made extra democratic in age of constitutional transformation.
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Additional resources for Constitutional Referendums: The Theory and Practice of Republican Deliberation
Does a principled objection to referendums stem from a deeper distrust of the direct engagement of the people in political decision-making altogether? The elision that is sometimes to be found between legitimate criticisms of referendum practice and an elitist rejection of popular participatory politics is an unfortunate one which I will try to untie. A wider problem for democracy? 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.
Here I will set out key principles of deliberative democracy that are particularly relevant to constitutional decision-taking, and begin to explore how these might help overcome the democratic deﬁciencies that can afﬂict the referendum process. This will set the scene for the remainder of the book, where these principles will be applied in analysing the practice of constitutional referendums by the lights of ‘functional normative value’ (per Chapter 1) as instruments of popular engagement in processes of constitutional change.
On occasion, such grass roots mobilisations generate formidable power, bringing down a regime; more rarely, they sometimes manage to make a fresh start and to lay the foundations of a lasting political community. ’ (2004) 9 J Political Ideologies 241, 251. 36 B Constitutional Referendums As the voters are taken to be badly educated and ill informed, subject to manipulation and to emotional decisions it is often argued that referenda should be admitted for small and unimportant issues, only. In contrast, issues of great consequence—such as changes in the constitution—should be left to the professional politicians.
Constitutional Referendums: The Theory and Practice of Republican Deliberation by Stephen Tierney
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