Andrew Glencross

Research output: Chapter in Book/Published conference outputChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


This chapter locates referendums within a history of European democracy,
understood in terms of Paul Nolte’s three Leitmotifs: search, fulfilment and
crisis. The idea of the referendum is first presented as a search for something
to complement representative democracy. The second part of the chapter
explores how to fulfil direct democracy’s promise, a dilemma that revolves
around considerations of how effectively referendums live up to their promise
when used. Thirdly, and finally, the analysis looks at the history of the
memory, or legacy, of referendums. Judging by the historical record, there is
no apparent reason to abandon direct democracy for fear of its consequences:
crises provoked by referendums can spur the democratic search for fulfilling
the potential of citizen empowerment.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Palgrave Handbook of European Referendums
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan Ltd.
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-030-55803-1
ISBN (Print)978-3-030-55802-4
Publication statusPublished - 3 Mar 2021

Bibliographical note

© 2021 The Author


  • refrendums
  • Brexit
  • legitimacy
  • European history
  • European integration


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