Professor Bruce Bimber: Research
University of California, Santa Barbara


I use statistical methods to study various aspects of the digital media environment and its consequences for human behavior and democracy. One area of research is the connection between political participation and the highly variable structural forms for collective action that are apparent in the current information regime in the US. That means studying things like who participates in events such as Occupy, BlackLivesMatter, or protests over same sex marriage that are oganized online.


A related area of my research is the dynamics of public attention in the context of social media. This means trying to understand when mass media call the attention of the public to an issue and when it works the other way around, and why.


Another line of my work addresses selective exposure to political information. In this work I study people's preferences for news and information that reinforces their existing beliefs, and I assess what this means for democracy.

For now my publications are exclusively in journal outlets in political science and communication. My most recent book is Collective Action in Organizations (Cambridge University Press, 2012), with Andrew Flanagin and Cynthia Stohl. I am also author of Information and American Democracy (Cambridge University Press, 2003), which won the Price Award for Best Book on Science, Technology and Politics from the American Political Science Association, and which is available in Chinese, Arabic, and Korean. My book Campaigning Online (Oxford University Press, 2003), with Richard Davis, won the McGannon Communication Policy Award for social and ethical relevance. My first book, which I started before the Internet began its ascendancy and became my obsession, is about the US Congress and is entitled The Politics of Expertise in Congress (SUNY Press, 1996).

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