DISC Lecture Series: "Direct Democracy Worldwide" by David Altman

October 3, 2011 - 15:30 - 17:10
Nador u. 13
Room 1
Event type: 
Event audience: 
CEU organizer(s): 
Carsten Q. Schneider
CEU organizer(s): 
Mihail Chiru
DISC Lecture Series: "Direct Democracy Worldwide" by David Altman

Abstract: Challenging the common assumption that models of direct democracy and representative democracy are necessarily at odds, Direct Democracy Worldwide demonstrates how practices of direct and representative democracy interact under different institutional settings and uncovers the conditions that allow them to coexist in a mutually reinforcing manner. Whereas citizen-initiated mechanisms of direct democracy can spur productive relationships between citizens and political parties, other mechanisms of direct democracy often help leaders bypass representative institutions, undermining republican checks and balances. The embrace of direct democracy is costly, may generate uncertainties and inconsistencies and in some cases is easily manipulated. Nonetheless, when properly designed, it can empower citizens breaking through some of the institutionalized barriers to accountability that arise in representative systems.

David Altman is Associate Professor of Political Science at the Pontificia Catholic University of Chile and editor of the Revista de Ciencia Politica. He is an Associate Researcher for the Uruguayan National Agency for Research and Innovation, was the winner of the Junior Post-Doctoral Scholarship in the Study of Democracy Competition of the Woodrow Wilson Center and the Ford Foundation and was previously a Guest Researcher Assistant Professor at the Helen Kellog Institute for International Studies. His recent work has appeared in Electoral Studies, Party Politics, Democratization, The Journal of Legislative Studies and PS-Political Science and Politics.