Chapter

Framing ‘the People’: Constitutional Referendums and the Demos

Stephen Tierney

in Constitutional Referendums

Published in print April 2012 | ISBN: 9780199592791
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191741067 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199592791.003.0003

Series: Oxford Constitutional Theory

Framing ‘the People’: Constitutional Referendums and the Demos

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This chapter addresses how the constitutional referendum implicates the very idea of ‘the people’. In the ordinary course of representative democracy this concept tends to lie dormant. However, the constitutional referendum by definition implicates an anterior act of demotic border-drawing — the framing of the collective self who will perform an act of constitutional self-determination and in doing so explicitly articulate itself as a constitutional people. This is often uncontroversial, but in some cases, particularly in the context of constitutive referendums, the referendum can expose tensions in the boundary question.

Keywords: constitutional referendum; the people; representative democracy; collective self; self-determination

Chapter.  18784 words. 

Subjects: Constitutional and Administrative Law

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