Our Book of the Month choice for October

The SSL ‘Book of the Month’ feature highlights a book in our collection that has been chosen by one of our Subject Consultants. This may be a recent addition to our stock or an existing item that we would like to share with you.


Government by Referendum

Matt Qvortrup

Manchester University Press, 2018

Shelfmark: JF497.G7.QVO 2018




The Book of the Month for October has been selected by Jo Gardner, Bodleian Social Science Librarian and Subject Consultant for Politics and International Relations. The choice was inspired by current political events in the UK.


Book Overview

This book asks why governments risk their position in the face of uncertain odds and whether referendums strengthen or weaken democracy. Covering the history of referendums since the Middle Ages, this book explains why politicians submit issues to the people and why they sometimes miscalculate the outcome. Government by Referendum questions if referendums, far from being a populist device, have actually performed the function of a democratic constitutional safeguard.


“Referendums are increasingly capturing the headlines. Not always for good reasons. While the referendum might have a place as a constitutional safe-guard, Professor Matt Qvortrup’s outstanding analysis shows that they can be dangerous when politicians call them for selfish and tactical reasons.”
Arend Lijphart, University of California, San Diego

“This concise book contains many thought-provoking observations and factual details that support its key message that referendums should be embraced by the public and demanded more regularly.”
Chris Stafford, University of Nottingham

Where can I find it?

We have one copy, which can be borrowed. It is currently displayed on top of our New Books Display Area (located around the corner from our Library Issue Desk). You are welcome to remove it from the display and borrow it. The shelfmark for the title is JF497.G7.QVO 2018

We also have an electronic legal deposit copy of the title. Online access for this material is restricted to library computers in any of the Bodleian Libraries. A link to it can be found on SOLO.

What would your SSL Book of the Month be? Do you have a favourite book in our collection? If so, we would love to know what it is. Add a comment below or email us.

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