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Direct Democracy: A Double-Edged Sword

Shauna Reilly
Direct Democracy: A Double-Edged Sword
ISBN: 978-1-62637-714-1
ISBN: 978-1-62637-718-9
2018/209 pages/LC: 2017043600
"A very fine book. Not only one that will become part of my personal library, but also one that I will be quoting in my own work in years to come."—Matt Qvortrup, Coventry University


Direct democracy typically is lauded for putting power in the hands of the people. But is it really as democratic as it seems? To what extent, and in what circumstances, is it less about citizen power and more about external influences seeking to manipulate outcomes?

Addressing these issues, Shauna Reilly draws on and compares case studies of referendums, recall elections, and initiatives around the world to investigate the complex realities of direct democracy in action.


Shauna Reilly is associate professor of political science at Northern Kentucky University.


  • Power and Manipulation in Direct Democracy.
  • Referenda: Rare, but Powerful.
  • Recall Elections: A Mixed Power.
  • Initiatives: True Citizen Power or Facades?
  • Federalism: Power Struggles.
  • Authoritarian Governments: Limiting Citizen Power.
  • The Power of Words: Secession Referenda.
  • The Power of Voters: Creating and Rejecting Peace.
  • What's Next?