Robert M Fishman                                                                                                                       

Robert M. Fishman, Professor of Sociology and Fellow of the Kellogg and Nanovic Institutes at the University of Notre Dame, is a comparativist who works on democracy and democratic practice, politics and culture, consequences of inequality, the Euro crisis and related themes.  Prior to coming to the University of Notre Dame, Fishman was 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, the American Political Science Association, the Council for European Studies and SASE.

Fishman’s articles have appeared in the American Sociological Review, World Politics, Politics & Society, Studies in Comparative International Development, Comparative Politics, Contributions to Political Economy and other scholarly journals as well as the New York Times.  His contributions to collective volumes have appeared in books dealing with the Euro, social capital theory, Weberian analysis and other themes.  Much of his current work focuses on the post 1970s divergence between Spain and Portugal, a paired comparison that offers valuable opportunities for addressing several large theoretical questions. 


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.  He is currently writing a book, tentatively entitled Democratic Practice: Origins of the Iberian Divide in Political Equality.   This new book analyzes differences in democratic practice and societal outcomes betweenthird wavepioneers 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 and attain a series of important policy objectives.


Fishman’s published papers, a selection of which appears below, include theoretical analysesdifferentiating 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:



The Year of the Euro: The Cultural, Social and Political Import of Europe’s Common Currency.  (Co-edited with Anthony Messina).  University of Notre Dame Press, 2006.

Democracy’s Voices: Social Ties and the Quality of Public Life in Spain.  Cornell University Press, 2004.

Working-Class Organization and the Return to Democracy in Spain.  Cornell University Press, 1990. 


Selected articles, essays and book chapters
(For PDF copies of papers not available below, please e-mail )  :

            Robert M. Fishman and Omar Lizardo, “How Macro-Historical Change Shapes Cultural Taste: Legacies of Democratization in Spain and Portugal” in American Sociological Review, 78(2), April 2013.

 “On the Significance of Public Protest in Spanish Democracy” in Jordana, Navarro, Pallares and Requejo (eds.) Democracia, Politica I Societat: Homenatge a Rosa Viros, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona, 2012.  (.pdf)

“Anomalies of Spain’s Economy and Economic Policy-Making” in Contributions to Political Economy, 31, 2012.   

            “Revisiting ‘Paths toward Redemocratization’” in Scott Mainwaring and Doug Chalmers (eds.)  Problems Confronting Contemporary Democracies: Essays in Honor of Alfred Stepan, University of Notre Dame Press, 2012. 

“Democratic Practice after the Revolution: The Case of Portugal and Beyond” in Politics & Society, 39(2), 2011. 

“Rethinking the Iberian Transformations: How Democratization Scenarios Shaped Labor Market Outcomes,” in Studies in Comparative International Development.   V45 (3), Fall 2010. 

“On the Costs of Conceptualizing Social Ties as Social Capital”,  Chapter three in Viva Bartkus and Jim Davis, (eds.) Social Capital: Multidisciplinary Perspectives.  Edward Elgar Press, 2009. (.pdf)

“Civic Engagement and Church Policy in the Making of Religious Vocations: Cross-National Variation in the Evolution of Priestly Ordinations.”  With Keely Jones, Chapter six in Giuseppe Giordan (ed.)  Vocation and Social Context.  Brill Academic Publishers and Association for the Sociology of Religion,  2007. (.pdf)

            “Triumphs, Failures and Ambiguities in Democratization: Juan Linz and the Study of Regime Change”, Chapter Two in Joan Marcet and José Ramón Montero (eds.) Roads to Democracy: A Tribute to Juan J. Linz.  Institut de CiŹncies Polítiques I Socials, Barcelona, 2007. (.pdf)

            “On Being a Weberian (After Spain’s March 11 - 14): Notes on the Continuing Relevance of  the Methodological Perspective Proposed by Weber”, Chapter eleven in Laurence McFalls (ed.) Max Weber’s “Objectivity” Revisited.  University of Toronto Press, 2007.

            “Identity, Social Practice and Currency Change: Catalonia in the Year of the Euro” in RM Fishman and AM Messina (eds.) The Year of the Euro, University of Notre Dame Press, 2006. (.pdf)

             “Shaping, not making democracy: the European Union and the post-authoritarian political transformation of Spain and Portugal”, in South European Society and Politics, V8 (1-2), 2003. (Also in: Sebastian Royo and Paul Manuel (eds.) From Isolation to Integration:  Fifteen Years of Spanish and Portuguese Membership in Europe,  Frank Cass, 2003.)

            “Workplace Leaders and Labour Organisation: Limits on the Mobilisation and Representation of Workers”, co-authored with Carol Mershon, in International Contributions to Labour Studies,  N3,  1993. (.pdf)                                  

            "Rethinking State and Regime: Southern Europe's Transition to Democracy" in World Politics.  V42(3),  April 1990. (.pdf)


Available below are the questionnaire and survey data from Democracy’s Voices. 


Democracy’s Voices limited data set excel.xls

Democracy’s Voices survey questionnaire with variable labels.pdf