Consensus building in referendums : the case of Scottish independence referendum

Van Der Zwet, Arno (2015) Consensus building in referendums : the case of Scottish independence referendum. In: Political Studies Association Annual Conference 2015, 2015-03-30 - 2015-04-01. (Unpublished)

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Abstract

One of the key critiques often voiced by those that do not consider referendums to be appropriate democratic instruments is that they are inherently divisive, simplifying complex issues to binary questions that do not allow a full appreciation of the subject. Such an argument is perhaps even more potent in the context of referendums that involve questions about fundamental constitutional state reform. This paper considers the notion of divisions in the context of the 2014 Scottish independence referendum, by examining socio-demographic and issue-based divisions in Scottish society using pre and post-referendum datasets. Considering these data, the paper goes on to identify routes for consensus building in referendums more generally