Synopses & Reviews
Standing out from all other books on direct democracy, Citizenship and Contemporary Direct Democracy connects the study of direct democracy to the broader field of comparative democratization and to an important strand in normative democratic theory. Analyzing the relationship between direct democracy and representative government, this book is organized around three main sections: the origins of contemporary direct democracy, its' functioning, and the ways to improve the use of direct democracy and its abuse. David Altman argues that citizen-initiated mechanisms of direct democracy constitute an important and viable way to reinvigorate current representative regimes by strengthening democracies' normative foundations--freedom and equity among citizens--which are particularly fragile in the context of unequal societies. Citizenship and Contemporary Direct Democracy demonstrates how citizen-initiated mechanisms of direct democracy empowers citizens, channels social demands, defuses violence, re-enchants citizens with politics, and breaks through some of the institutionalized barriers to accountability that arise in representative systems.