Robert M. Fishman Webpage

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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 crisisrfishman. 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:


  • 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:

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

  • Robert M. Fishman, Carlos Gervasoni and Keely Jones Stater, “Inequality and the Altruistic Life: A Study of the Priestly Vocation Rate” Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 54: 575-595.
  • “Networks and Narratives in the Making of Civic Practice: Lessons from Iberia” in Jennifer Girouard and Carmen Sirianni (eds.), Varieties of Civic Innovation: Deliberative, Collaborative, Network and Narrative Approaches. Vanderbilt University Press, 2014, (.pdf)
  • Democracy and Markets: Notes on a Twenty-First Century Paradox” in Daniel Brinks, Marcelo Leiras and Scott Mainwaring (eds.), Reflections on Uneven Democracies: The Legacy of Guillermo O’Donnell. (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2014).
  • Robert M. Fishman and Omar Lizardo, “How Macro-historical Change Shapes Cultural Taste: Legacies of Democratization in Spain and Portugal” in American Sociological Review (Volume 78, N2, April 2013)

— Winner of Tilly Prize for Best Article, Section on Comparative and Historical Sociology, ASA.

  • “The Iberian Divergence in Political Inclusion” in Pedro Alcantara da Silva and Filipe Carreira da Silva (eds.). Ciencias Sociais: Vocacao e Profissao. Homenagem a Manuel Villaverde Cabral. (Imprensa de Ciencias Sociais, 2013). (.pdf)
  • “Anomalies of Spain’s Economy and Economic Policy-making” in Contributions to Political Economy. (Volume 31, 2012)
  • “On the Significance of Public Protest in Spanish Democracy” in Jacint Jordana, Vicenc Navarro, Frencese Pallarés and Ferran Requejo (eds.), Deomocràcia, Politica i Societat; Homenatge a Rosa Virós. (Universitat Pompeu Fabra and Avenc, 2012).(.pdf)
  • “Revisiting ‘Paths Toward Redemocratization'” in Scott Mainwaring and Doug Chalmers (eds.), Problems Confronting Contemporary Democracies: Essays in Honor of Aldred Stepan. (University of Notre Dame Press, 2012). (.pdf)
  • “Democratic Practice after the Revolution: The Case of Portugal and Beyond” in Politics & Society. (Volutem 39, N2, June 2011).
  • “Rethinking the Iberian Transformations: How Democratization Scenarios Shaped Labor Market Outcomes” in Studies in Comparative International Development, V45(281-310), 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 Monetero (eds.) Roads to Democracy: a Tribute to Juan J. Linz. Institut de Ciències Politiques 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. (.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 dataset for Democracy’s Voices