Communication Scholar W. Lance Bennett Receives Research Award from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation

Specialist in Political Communication Doing Research at Institute of Media and Communication Studies at Freie Universität until December 2015

The internationally recognized political scientist and communication scholar, W. Lance Bennett from the University of Washington in Seattle (Washington, USA) is the recipient of a Research Award from the Humboldt Foundation. During the summer and fall of 2015, he will be spending more than six months at the Institute and Communication Studies at Freie Universität. He is working with Barbara Pfetsch, the director of the Division of Communication Theory and Media Effects.

During his stay, Bennett will be working on the project entitled, "The Marketplace of Ideas in the Digital Age: Mapping Discourses of Sustainability in National and Transnational Networks." The research in this project focuses on the role of online communication and networks in the development and implementation of new ideas on economic, environmental, and sustainability issues with regard to energy policy and their impact on political decision-making processes.

W. Lance Bennett has been a professor of political science at the University of Washington in Seattle since 1982, and since 2000 he has also been a professor of communication and the director of the Center for Communication and Civic Engagement, at the same university. As the founder of indexing theory, he made internationally influential and innovative contributions to communication research in 1990, when he published the essay, "Toward a theory of press-state relations," in which he demonstrated the influence of political elite opinions and political interpretation patterns on political news coverage.

In addition, his latest book, The Logic of Connective Action , co-authored with Alexandra Segerberg, delineates the concept of connective action and provides an approach for researching the impact of digital media on political participation and protest movements.

From the perspective of the Division of Communication Theory and Media Effects, Bennett’s research project is an excellent addition to the research currently underway at the Division, in particular, in the project "Political Agenda Building in Times of a Hybrid Media System - A Comparison between Countries and Topics." In the project, a research team at the Division is focusing on the issue of food safety with opportunities for online participation by various groups in society, in particular with regard to their prospects for getting topics and opinions in the media as well as on the political and public agenda.

Since 1972 the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation has been granting Humboldt Research Awards to scholars and scientists whose theories, findings, or fundamental discoveries have had a lasting influence on their discipline. The award winners are invited to carry out research in a project in Germany in cooperation with colleagues for a period up to a year. The Research Award amounts to 60,000 euros.