Bernhard Laurent (2012) Campaign Strategy in Direct Democracy.  Palgrave MacMillan

This book takes a fresh look at direct democracy by exploring how political actors run direct-democratic campaigns. It is the first study of comparative direct-democratic campaigning and examines eight campaigns on four salient policy domains: immigration, health politics, welfare state issues, and economic liberalism centring on the world's champion par excellence of direct-democracy, Switzerland. Bernhard derives much of his analysis through interviews conducted with campaign managers providing first-hand accounts that offer unprecedented access into the organisation and strategy behind direct-democratic campaigns. Campaign Strategy in Direct Democracy is essential reading for students and scholars of political communication and political science. 

Smith Daniel and  Tolbert Caroline (2004) Educated by Initiative: The Effects of Direct Democracy on Citizens and Political Organizations in the American States. University of Michigan Press

"This body of research not only passes academic muster but is the best guidepost in existence for activists who are trying to use the ballot initiative process for larger policy and political objectives."
--Kristina Wilfore, Executive Director, Ballot Initiative Strategy Center and Foundation

Educated by Initiative moves beyond previous evaluations of public policy to emphasize the educational importance of the initiative process itself.
Since a majority of ballots ultimately fail or get overturned by the courts, Smith and Tolbert suggest that the educational consequences of initiative voting may be more important than the outcomes of the ballots themselves. The result is a fascinating and thoroughly-researched book about how direct democracy teaches citizens about politics, voting, civic engagement and the influence of special interests and political parties. Designed to be accessible to anyone interested in the future of American democracy, the book includes boxes (titled "What Matters") that succinctly summarize the authors' data into easily readable analyses.

Smith Daniel (1998) Tax Crusaders and the Politics of Direct Democracy. Routledge

Daniel A. Smith exposes the truth about the American tax revolt. Contrary to conventional wisdom, recent ballot initiatives to limit state taxes have not been the result of a groundswell of public outrage; rather, they have been carefully orchestrated from the top down by professional tax crusaders: political entrepreneurs with their own mission.
These faux populist initiatives--in contrast to genuine grassroots movements--involve minimal citizen participation. Instead, the tax crusaders hire public relations firms and use special interest groups to do the legwork and influence public opinion. Although they successfully tap into the pervasive anti-tax public mood by using populist rhetoric, these organizations serve corporate interests rather than groups of concerned neighbors. The author shows that direct democracy can, ironically, lead to diminished public involvement in government.
Smith looks at the key players, following the trail of money and power in three important initiatives: Proposition 13 in California (1978), Proposition 2 1/2 in Massachusetts (1980), and Amendment 1 in Colorado (1992). He provides a thorough history of tax limitation movements in America, showing how direct democracy can be manipulated to subvert the democratic process and frustrate the public good.

Sisodia Yatindra Singh (2007) Experiment of Direct Democracy: Gram Swaraj in Madhya Pradesh. Rawat Publications

"Village communities have been in existence in India for over centuries and panchayats have been an intimate part of the Indian culture. Panchayat system is one of the unique democratic institutions evolved in India by country’s own genius and ethos. The post-73rd amendment phase has generated immense interest among the observers and experts who were keen to understand this significant change in the pattern of governance at the grassroots level. In the continuation of the process of strengthening institutional governance at local level, an innovation of Gram Swaraj system was introduced in Madhya Pradesh in 2001. The book is an attempt to identify, document and comprehend the broad trends emanating from the field, based on the experience of three years functioning of Gram Swaraj in Madhya Pradesh. Three years is a short span of time for the dust to settle from such radical changes. However, it is important to understand and analyse the process and direction of institutionalization.

Johnston Richard, Blais André (1996) Challenge of Direct Democracy: The 1992 Canadian Referendum. McGill-Queen's University Press

Charlottetown Accord, a comprehensive package of constitutional amendments that was the product of years of negotiation, consultation, and compromise. Canadians rejected it outright, effectively halting the country's formal constitutional evolution. But what did the No vote mean? Were voters making a considered judgment after thorough consideration of the package or were they expressing their anger with politicians, particularly Prime Minister Brian Mulroney? The Challenge of Direct Democracy provides the definitive account of the 1992 referendum on the Charlottetown Accord.

Cowen Nick (2008) Total Recall: How Direct Democracy Can Improve Britain. Civitas

Members of Parliament have traditionally enjoyed total legislative supremacy in the United Kingdom, able to pass or rescind any law of the land. Most citizens of Britain probably think that this is still the case. However, in this worrying examination of the dilution of the sovereignty of parliament by its own members, Nick Cowen shows how they have slowly ceded their powers to ministers, government agencies and the European Union. In 2006, parliament almost abolished itself by accident. Many of the laws that govern the lives of people in Britain are made by people who never have to stand for election, and who may not even live in the country. This is a serious threat to the Mother of Parliaments, and to the liberty of the people. However, given the craven willingness of MPs to delegate their powers, what is the remedy? Direct democracy, as developed in Switzerland and especially the USA, allows citizens to stay in charge even after Election Day. Through the use of referendums, initiatives, recalls, termlimits, local charters and grand juries, citizens are able to put a break on bad laws, dispose of politicians who betray their election promises and eject officials found helping themselves from the public purse. Nick Cowen argues that we should introduce these mechanisms to the UK to ensure a more accountable government and, more importantly, a government that can't hand its powers to anyone other than back to the people of Britain.


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