wpeA.jpg (1980 bytes)  Book-Guide

On this page we have provided a lot of references to books on direct democracy and related topics.  Most books - but not all - are critical towards the way representative democracy works. We have tried to classify the books into some categories, thus giving structure to the body of material. In some cases we have enclosed a citation or brief remark from a review in the press on a book. In a few cases, we have made available a full-text review concerning a book. We plan to update and enhance this reference list regularly. Comments are welcome to  observa@po.ia.dk 

The reference list is structured thus (please scroll down):

bulletWritings on Danish and  Scandinavian  Democracy (in English) bulletAlternatives to parliamentary  democracy bullet"Participatory Democracy" bulletBooks on Swiss  Direct Democracy bulletGerman Democracy bulletBooks on democracy in America, Europe etc. bulletBooks on Teledemocracy bulletBooks on Athenian democracy bulletClassics  

Writings on Danish and  Scandinavian  Democracy - The list includes books in English, Chapters of books in English and  Danish books where we have provided a translation of selected reviews. 

Schmidt, Marcus. 1993. Direct Democracy in Denmark: About the Introduction of an Electronic  Secondary Chamber of Parliament. (in Danish) Copenhagen: Nyt Nordisk Forlag Arnold Busck. - Click here to read some Danish reviews of the book that have been translated into English. 

Lauwerys, J. A. (ed.) 1958. Scandinavian Democracy: Developments of Thought and Institutions in Denmark, Norway and Sweden. Copenhagen: J. H. Schultz. [Chapter 2, "What is Democracy", by Alf Ross is available here] and [a part of Chapter 3, "Early Democratic Traditions in Scandinavia" by  Ingvar Anderson is available here]

Butler, David, and Austin  Ranney. (eds.). 1994. Referendums Around the World - The Growing Use of Direct  Democracy. London: McMillan. [Parts of a chapter on Scandinavia is available here]

Gallagher, M. and P. V. Uleri. (eds.).1996. The Referendum Experience in Europe. London: Macmillan. [A chapter on Denmark by Palle Svensson is available here]

Alternatives to parliamentary  democracy

Barber, Benjamin R. 1984. Strong Democracy: Parlicipatori Politics for a New Age. Berkeley, Calif: University of California Press. ( German edition: Starke Demokratie. Hamburg: Rotbuch Verlag, 1994). 

Barber, Benjamin R. .1998. A Passion for Democracy. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

Barber, Benjamin R. 1998. A Place for Us: How to make Society Civil and Democracy Strong. Hill and Wang. Commentary: "Barber's ultimate hope for strengthening civil society is certainly desirable. He pragmatically observes that 'the economic reality of jobs vanishing at the very moment when we are reaffirming the ideology of work, calling the work ethic our core value in the politics of welfare reform' presents a problem ... We can only hope, for the sake of our democracy, that this book is less a utopian tract and more a textbook for our future." (Jo-Ann Mort, The Los Angeles Times Sunday Book Review ).

Burnheim John  .1985. Is Democracy Possible? Cambridge, U.K.: Polity Press. ( German edition: Über Demokratie - Alternativen zum Parlamentarismus. Berlin: Wagenbach, 1987). Commentary: "Is Democracy Possible ought to be read by as many as possible. It is written without any fuzz and it takes a shrewd arguing path that will stimulate the frustrated mind while irritating the smug." ( Times Literary Supplement ).

Carson, Lyn and Brian Martin.  2000. Random Selection in Politics. London: Praeger.

Dahl, Robert A. 1989. Democracy and its Critics. New York: Yale University Press.  Commentary: "When Robert Dahl speaks about democracy, everyone should listen. With Democracy and its critics Dahl has produced a work destined to become another classic." (Lucian W. Pye, American Political Science Review). - "[Dahl] brilliantly defends democracy against its critics, including those who would have judges play the active role of guardians in our society. Lawyers and legal scholars will benefit from the theoretical context this book brings to the debate over judicial policymaking, and the reader will appreciate the clarity and thoroughness of Dahl's entire argument." (Cary   Coglianese, Michigan Law Review).

- 1998. On Democracy. New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press. Commentary: "Dahl does a commendable job of presenting a complex topic in a clear, concise and commonsensical manner, and in a style accessible to the general reader." (Mark F.  Plattner, New York Times Review of Books).

Etzioni, Amitai .1993. The Spirit of Community. New York: Touchstone.

- 1996. The New Golden Rule. Community and Morality in a Democratic Society.  New York: Basic Books. (German edition: Die Verantwortungsgesellschaft :Individualismus und Moral in der heutigen Demokratie. Frankfurt: Campus, 1997). 

Fishkin: James S. .1991. Democracy and Deliberation: New Directions for Democratic Reform. New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press.

Fishkin: James S.  1995. The Voice of The People - Public Opinion and Democracy.  New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press.

Fishkin: James S. 1997. The Voice of the People. Public Opinion and Democracy. New York: Yale University Press. Commentary: For the people who take part in them, these exercises are an eye-opener ... Governments frequently require companies and other bodies to consult the public before taking public decisions ... Here, a deliberative poll might be the ideal tool. (The Economist)

Mautner, Michael N. 2000. A Constitution of Direct Democracy. Christchurch, NZ: Legacy Books.

Wolff, Robert Paul .1976. In Defense of Anarchism. New York: Harper Torchbooks.


"Participatory Democracy"

Becker, Theodore L. (ed.). 1991. Quantum Politics. Applying Quantum Theory to Political Phenomena. New York: Praeger.

Becker, Theodore L. and Richard A.  Couto (ed).1996. Teaching Democracy by Being Democratic. London: Praeger

Benhabib, Seyla (ed.). 1996. Democracy and Difference. New York: Princeton University Press.

Dolbeare Kenneth and Janette Kay Hubbell.1996. USA 2012 - After The Middle Class Revolution. Chatham, NJ.: Chatham House.
Commentary: "A book not to be overlooked" (Economist April 201996). Click here to read an in-depth review of the book by Marcus Schmidt).

Duxby, Neil. 1999. Random Justice: On Lotteries and Legal Decision Making. New York: Oxford University Press.

Elster, Jon (ed.). 1998. Deliberative Democracy. New York: Cambridge University Press. 

Entmann. Robert M. 1989. Democracy without Citizens. New York: Oxford University Press.

Goodwin. Barbara. 1992. Justice by Lottery. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Gutmann Amy and Dennis Thompson. 1998. Democracy and Disagreement. Belknap Press. Commentary: "When Democratic citizens morally disagree about public policy, what should they do? - That is what Amy Goodmann and Dennis Thompson ask in their important new book ... The authors deserve credit for their ambitious attempt to bridge the gap between high political theory and messy public policy."  (Jeffrey Rosen, New York Times Book Review).

Kramer, Daniel C. 1972. Participatory Democracy. Cambridge, Mass.: Schenkman.

Lucas, J. R. 1976. Democracy and Participation. Harmondsworth, U.K. Penguin Books.

MacEdo, Stephen (ed.). 1999. Deliberative Politics: Essays on Democracy and Disagreement. Oxford University Press.

Osburn, Lee Ann. 1985. The Problem of Participation.  Boston: University Press of America.

Pateman Carole. 1980. Participation and Democratic Theory.  Cambridge, Mass.: Cambridge University Press.

Phillips. Anne. 1991. Engendering Democracy. Cambridge, UK: Polity Press.

Przeworski, Adam and Susan C. Stokes.  1999. Democracy, Accountability and Representation. New York: Cambridge University Press.


Zimmerman, Joseph F. 1986.. Participatory Democracy: Populism Revisited.  New York: Praeger.

Woolpert, Stephen, Christa Daryl Slaton, and Edward W.   Schwerin (ed.).1998. Transformational Politics. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press.


Books on Swiss  Direct Democracy

Bhuinya, N. .1975. Direct Democracy in Switzerland. Int. Book Distributors.

Kobach K. W. 1993. The Referendum: Direct Democracy in Switzerland.  Dartmouth Publishing.


The following books are only available in German language:

Bridel, Marcel. (ed.) .1952. Die Direkte Gemeindedemokratie in der Schweiz. Zürich: Polygraphischer Verlag. Kommentar:  

Carlen, L. 1976. Die Landesgemeinde in der Schweiz. Sigmaringen, Schweiz.

Erle, Roland, Andreas Gross, Bruno  Kaufmann and Heinz Kleger. (ed.).1995.. Transnationale Demokratie - Impulse für ein Demokratisch verfasstes Europa. Zürich: Realotopia. 

Kellenberger, M. 1965. Die Landesgemeinden der schweizischen Kantone. Winterthur, Switzerland.

Möckli, Silvio. 1993. Direkte Demokratie - Ein Internationaler Veigleich. Bern: Sankt Gallener Studien. 

Ryffel, H. 1903. Die schweizerischen Landesgemeinden. Zürich.

Stauffacher, W. 1962. Die Versammlungsdemokratie im Kanton Galrus. Zürich.

Stolz, Peter. 1968. Politische Entscheidungen in der Versammlungsdemokratie. Bern, Schweiz: Paul Haupt Verlag.


German democracy

The following books are only available in German language:

Arnim, Hans Herbert. 1993. Demokratie ohne Volk: Plädoyer gegen Staatsversagen, Machtmissbrauch und Politikverdrossenheit , München: Knaur. Commentary: Von Arnim is the best known critic of the German representative democracy. He has a chair at the Verwaltungshochschule (School of Administrative Sciences) in   Speyer, Germany. Von Arnim has a very critical attitude toward the German Political Class and he has repeatedly been able to unravel how German MP's - by use of significant efforts - are putting public money into their own pockets (increasing salary beyond reasonable limits, granting themselves enormous pensions etc.). As a kind of "medicine" against such sincere behavior he suggest widespread use of  direct democracy. Von Arnim has been a frequent consultant to the influential pressure group German Taxpayers Association. Most of his reports and findings have made it right to the front page of the biggest German dailies like  Bild Zeitung and leading weeklies like  Der Spiegel.

-. 1993. Der Staat als Beute: Wie Politiker in eigener Sache Gesetze machen, München: Knaur.

-. 1995. Der Staat sind wir! Politische Klasse ohne Kontrolle. Das neue Diätengesetz. München: Knaur.

- .1996. Staat ohne Diener. München: Knaur.

- 1997. Fetter Bauch regiert nicht gern: Die politische Klasse - selbstbezogen und abgehoben. München: Kindler.

- 1998. Diener vieler Herren: Die Doppel- und Dreifachversorgung von Politikern. München: Knaur.

- 2000. Vom schönen Schein der Demokrati: Politik ohne Verantwortung - Am Volk vorbei. München: Droemer. 



Books on democracy in America, Europe etc.

Butler, David, and Austin  Ranney. (eds). 1978. Referendums. Washington, D.C.: American Enterprise Institute for Policy Research. [Parts of a chapter on Scandinavia is available here]

Butler, David, and Austin  Ranney. (eds). 1994. Referendums Around the World - The Growing Use of Direct  Democracy. London: McMillan. 

Burke J. T., R. P. Hiskes and C. E. Zirakzadeh. 1992. Direct Democracy and International Politics: Deciding International Issues Through Referendums.  Lynn Rienner.

Boyer, P. 1992. Direct Democracy in Canada. Dundurn.

Cronin. T. E. 1989. Direct Democracy: The Politics of Initiative, Referendum, and Recall. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press. 

Dunn, John. (ed.) 1992. Democracy - The unfinished Journey. New York: Oxford University Press.

Gallagher, M. and P. V. Uleri. (eds.).1996. The Referendum Experience in Europe. London: Macmillan.  [A chapter on Denmark by Palle Svensson is available here]

Lash, Christopher. 1995. The Revolt of the Elites and the Betrayal of Democracy.  Norton.

Magleby, David B. 1984. Direct Legislation. Baltimore, Md.: John Hopkins University Press.

Mansbridge Jane J. 1980. Beyond Adversary Democracy. New York: Basic Books.

Marr, Andrew. 1995. Ruling Britannia: The Failure and Future of British Democracy. Penguin

Resnick, Philip. 1997. Twenty-First Century Democracy. Montreal: McGill-Queens's University Press.
Kommentar: Overall Twenty-First Century Democracy is valuable and well argued, but not terribly exciting. perhaps it is because I agree with so many of   Resnick's ideals ... Resnick seeks to be a visionary, and he is certainly an idealist, but the tone of pragmatism and caution comes through a little too strongly." (Jennifer L. Hochschild. Public Opinion Quarterly, Winter 1999).

Sartori, Giovanni. 1987. The Theory of Democracy Revisited.  Chatham, NJ: Chatham House Publishers. Commentary: Sartory's book is regarded a modern classic within democratic theory.  However, he is known to possess quite hostile viewpoints regarding direct and electronic democracy

Tallian, Laura. 1977. Direct Democracy. Los Angeles: Peoples Lobby.

Toffler, Alvin. 1981. The Third Wave. New York: William Morrow and Company. Commentary: The closing chapter, 28, "Democracy in the 21st Century" is visionary kind of "must reader".

Toffler, Alvin. 1990. Powershift: Knowledge, Wealth and Violence at the Edge of the 21st Century. New York: Bantam Books. Commentary: Part 5, "Powershift Politics" (Chapters 20-28) contains an important discussion on future democracy.


Books on Teledemocracy

Abramson, Jeffrey B., F. Christoffer Arterton, and Gary R. Orren. 1988. The Electronic Commenwealth: The Impact of New Technology on Democratic Politics.  New York: Basic Books. Commentary: Arterton is known to be very negative and critical towards teledemocracy.

Arterton, F. Christopher. 1987. Teledemocracy: Can Technology Protect Democracy. Beverly Hills: Sage. Commentary: Arterton is known to be very negative and critical towards teledemocracy.

Becker, Ted and Christa Daryl Slaton.  2000. The Future of Teledemocracy. London: Greenwood Publishing.

Browning, Graeme. 2000. Electronic Democracy. Wilton, CT.

Budge, Ian. 1996. The New Challenge of Direct Democracy. U.K.: Polity Press.

Grossman, Lawrence K. 1995. The Electronic Republic. Penguin Books. Commentary: "An invaluable primer for anyone wanting to ponder democracy's future." ( The Dallas Morning News) - "The highly knowledgeable ... thoroughly absorbing study is sure to wake people up to the true magnitude of the political consequences embodied in the accelerating electronic revolution." (David McCullough, author of  Truman). 

Keskinen, Auli. 1999. Towards User Empowerment. Tampere, FI: University of Tampere.

McLean, Iain. 1989. Democracy and New Technology. Cambridge, U.K.: Polity Press.

Saldich, Anne Rawley. 1979. Electronic Democracy. New York: Praeger. Commentary: Deals primarily with the influence of TV on society.

Slaton, Christa Darlyn. 1992. Televote: Expanding Citizen Partipication in the Quantum Age. Westport, Conn.: Praeger. A review of the book is provided here.

Tehranian, Majid 1990. Technologies of Power: Information Machines and Democratic Prospects. Norwood, New Jersey: Ablex Publishing Company.

Books on Athenian Democracy

Finley, Moses I. 1973. Democracy Ancient and Modern. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press. ( Geman edition: Antike und Moderne Demokratie. Stuttgart: Reclam, 1987).

Hansen, Mogens Herman. 1983. The Athenian Ecclesia and the Swiss Landesgemeinde. Copenhagen University.

-. 1984. Die Athenische Volksversammlung im Zeitalter des Demosthenes. Konstanz, Ger.: Universitätsverlag  Konstanz.( English Edition: The Athenian Assembly in the Age of Demosthenes, Oxford, 1987)

-. 1989. Was Athens a Democracy? Copenhagen: Munksgaard.

-. 1991. The Athenian Democracy in the Age of  Demosthenes. Cambridge, Mass.: Basil Blackwell. ( German edition: Die Athenische Demokratie im Zeitalter des Demosthenes: Struktur, Prinzipien und Selbstverständnis. Berlin: Akademie Verlag, 1995.

-. 1999. The Athenian Democracy in the Age of  Demosthenes. London: Bristol Classical Paperbacks. Commentary: "Far and away the best account (full, fair minded, elegantly readable, and up-to-date) of the Athenian Democracy is M. H. Hansen,  The Athenian Democracy in the Age of Demosthenes ... Hansens ... numerous contributions ... have transformed the subject." (- John Dunn (ed.), 1992. Democracy: The Unfinished Journey. New York: Oxford University Press, page 267). Hansen's book has been translated into many languages and is commonly regarded  the  international classic about the topic.

Headlam, James Wycliffe. 1933. Election by Lot at Athens. Cambridge.

Jones, A. H. M. 1957. Athenian Democracy. Oxford: Basil Blackwell.

Sinclair, R. K. 1988. Democracy and Participation in Athens.  Cambridge, Mass.: Cambridge University Press.

Staveley, E. S. 1972. Greek and Roman Voting and Elections. Ithaca. N.Y.: Cornell University Press.

Stockton, David. 1990. The Classical Athenian Democracy. New York: Oxford University Press.

A few Classical Books about Democracy

Aristotele. 1962. The Politics. Middlesex, GB: Penguin.

Ketcham. Ralph. (ed.). 1986. The Antifederalist Papers and the Constitutional Convention Debates. New York: Menthor.

Mill, John Stuart. [1861] 1958. Considerations on Representative Government. Ed. C. V. Shields. Indianapolis, IN: Bobbs-Merrill.

Rossiter, Clinton. (ed.) 1961. The Federalist Papers. New York: Menthor.

Rousseau. Jean-Jacques. [1762] 1978. On the Contract Social, with Geneva Manuscript and Political Economy. Ed. Roger D. Masters and Judith R. Masters. New York: St. Martins Press.