(RE)CREATING CITIZENSHIP THROUGH DIRECT DEMOCRACY: A CAUTIONARY TALE FROM CROATIA

Direct democracy is frequently opposed to representation as being an expression of an undivided popular will. Framed by forms of direct decision-making, citizenship is seen as an antecedent and for the most part separate issue. In other words, the eligible demos must be defined before direct democracy is invoked. In this paper, I want to provide an alternative perspective by examining forms of direct democracy as instruments of defining the political dimensions of citizenship. I first show how direct democracy involves different forms of representation, more specifically representation as an argument, process and construct. I then proceed to situate this framework in Croatia, showing how the growing reliance on direct democracy affirmed only some forms of representation. In the process, the political dimension of citizenship was not strengthened, but was instrumentalised in a way that disempowers the Croatian demos.