Harvard Law School Berkman Center for Internet & Society The Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard Law School

James Fishkin
Faculty Fellow

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James S. Fishkin holds the Darrell K. Royal Regents Chair at the University of Texas at Austin where he is also Chair of the Department of Government and Professor of Government, Law and Philosophy. Professor Fishkin is the Director of the Center for Deliberative Polling. He first proposed the idea of the Deliberative Poll in an article in the Atlantic Monthly in August of 1988. He developed the proposal in his book, Democracy and Deliberation: New Directions for Democratic Reform (Yale University Press, 1991). His most recent book, The Voice of the People (Yale University Press, 1995; expanded paperback edition, 1997), presents the full case for Deliberative Polling in the context both of elections and public policy.

In 1994 he helped bring the idea to realization as Academic Advisor to Britain's Channel 4 for the series, Power and the People. The results of the world's first Deliberative Poll were broadcast on May 8, 1994, and the process has been conducted nationally in Britain five times including a 1997 effort for the British General Election. Fishkin also served as Executive Director of the 1996 National Issues Convention broadcast on PBS and he has also served as Academic Advisor to a number of local Deliberative Polls conducted in Texas on electric utility matters

At the Berkman Center, Professor Fishkin worked with Andrew McLaughlin on efforts to adapt Deliberative Polling for the Internet.

Professor Fishkin received his BA from Yale in 1970 and holds two Ph.D.'s, one in Political Science from Yale and one in philosophy from the University of Cambridge, England. He has been a Guggenheim Fellow, a Fellow of the Center for Advanced Study in Behavioral Sciences at Stanford, a Fellow of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars at the Smithsonian Institution and a Visiting Fellow Commoner at Trinity College, Cambridge, England. In 1985, he received the Erik H Erikson Prize from the International Society of Political Psychology. He has written a number of books about democracy in both theory and practice and about political theory and public policy.