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Ruddick C. Lawrence Professor Communication and Professor of Political Science, University of Washington

Lance Bennett received his Ph.D. in political science from Yale University in 1974, and has taught since then at the University of Washington, where he is Ruddick C. Lawrence Professor Communication and Professor of Political Science. He is also founder and director of the Center for Communication and Civic Engagement ( The Center is dedicated to understanding how communication processes and technologies can enhance citizen engagement with social life, politics, and global affairs. Bennett has lectured internationally on the importance of media and information systems in civic life. His current research interests include: press-government relations and the quality of public information; communication and the organization of social movements; transnational activism; citizenship and youth civic engagement, digital media and political participation, and modeling the organization of technology enabled crowds.

He is author or editor of 12 books, including: News: The Politics of Illusion, (Longman, 9th ed., also published in China); Taken By Storm: The Media, Public Opinion, and U.S. Foreign Policy in the Gulf War (Chicago, co-edited with David Paletz), Mediated Politics: Communication in the Future of Democracy (Cambridge, co-edited with Robert Entman, also published in China), When the Press Fails: Political Power and the News Media from Iraq to Katrina (Chicago, with Regina Lawrence and Steven Livingston), and The Logic of Connective Action: Digital Media and the Personalization of Contentious Politics (Cambridge, with Alexandra Segerberg).

He has served on the editorial boards of leading journals in political science and communication and he is co-editor (with Robert Entman) of the Cambridge University Press series Communication, Society and Politics. He has served as chair of the Political Communication Section of the American Political Science Association. Visiting appointments include: The Laurence M. Lombard Visiting Professor of press/politics in the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard and Olof Palme Visiting Professor, Stockholm University 2010 -2012, awarded by the Swedish National Research Council.

Awards include: the E. E. Schattschneider dissertation award, the Ithiel de Sola Pool Award and Lectureship, and the Murray Edelman Distinguished Career Award in Political Communication, all from the American Political Science Association. He also received the Donald McGannon Award for Social and Ethical Relevance in Communication Policy (with Jarol Manheim). Uppsala University has awarded him its Doctor of Philosophy, honoris causa. He received the International Communication Association Outstanding Article Award for “The Logic of Connective Action” with Alexandra Segerberg. And he is a National Comunication Association Distinguished Scholar.

His research has been funded by the National Science Foundation, Ford Foundation, Social Science Research Council, Spencer Foundation, Kellogg Foundation, Pew Charitable Trusts, Annenberg Policy Foundation, Belgian Science Policy Foundation, The MacArthur Foundation, Fulbright Commission, Surdna Foundation, and Microsoft, among others.


  • –present
    Ruddick C. Lawrence Professor Communication and Professor of Political Science, University of Washington