Robert M Fishman

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Robert M. Fishman, Conex-Marie Curie Professor of Political Science and Sociology at Madrid's Carlos III University, is a comparativist who works on democracy and democratic practice, politics and culture, consequences of inequality, and the Euro crisis. Prior to joining the Carlos III University in 2015, Fishman was Professor of Sociology and a Fellow of the Kellogg and Nanovic Institutes at the University of Notre Dame and, earlier, Associate Professor of Government and of Social Studies at Harvard University. He has also been a visiting professor at the Center for Advanced Study in the Social Sciences of the Juan March Institute (Madrid) and the Universitat Pompeu Fabra (Barcelona). Fishman earned his Ph.D. in Sociology from Yale University and is a member of the American Sociological Association and the American Political Science Association.

Fishman is currently writing a book analyzing differences in democratic practice and societal outcomes between "third wave" pioneers Portugal and Spain, the Iberian Peninsula neighbors which, through nearly polar opposite pathways of change, initiated the late twentieth century's worldwide expansion of democratic rule. This work takes the juxtaposition between numerous historical and structural similarities of these neighboring societies and their major divergence after returning to democracy in the 1970s as the basis to pose a series of large theoretical questions on the functioning of democracy and the dynamics determining how well representative systems approximate the democratic goal of full political equality among citizens. In a broader sense, his work at the Carlos III University focuses on dimensions of democracy and their determinants.

Fishman's books include Democracy's Voices, winner in 2005 of Honorable Mention for Best Book in Political Sociology, The Year of the Euro (with Anthony Messina), and Working-Class Organization and the Return to Democracy in Spain. Both Democracy's Voices and Working-Class Organization have also been published in Spanish.

Fishman's published papers, a selection of which appears below, include theoretical analyses - differentiating between states and regimes in democratization and critiquing the concept of social capital - as well as methodological work on the Weberian approach to social science and on the rationale for studying labor movements from the perspective of workplace leaders. Fishman has also published papers on European integration and on sociological determinants of priestly vocations as well as other themes.

Selected Publications:


Selected articles, essays and book chapters:

Please email me at for a copy of any article below without a linked .pdf

Available below are the questionnaire and dataset for Democracy's Voices