Lauren Copeland, Ph.D.

Baldwin-Wallace College

Phone: 4408263846

Address: 275 Eastland Road

City: Berea, Ohio - 44017

Country: United States

About Me:

I am an Assistant Professor of Political Science at Baldwin Wallace University (BW) outside Cleveland, OH. I am also the Associate Director of the Community Research Institute at BW, and the program director for the political communication minor.

Research Interests

Political Communication

Elections, Election Administration, and Voting Behavior

Political Participation

Public Opinion

Research Methods & Research Design

Political Parties and Interest Groups

State and Local Politics

Ohio Politics

Countries of Interest

United States

My Research:

Assistant Professor of Political Scientist and Associate Director of the Community Research Institute at Baldwin Wallace UniverstyResearch interests include digital media and politics, elite-directed or electoral participation (e.g., voting and voter turnout), non-electoral or elite-challenging participation (e.g., political consumerism, boycotts, buycotts, protests, signing petitions, demonstrations), online activism | political communication | public opinion | polling | elections | Ohio politics


Journal Articles:

(2017) The Influence of Citizenship Norms and Media Use on Different Modes of Political Participation in the U.S., Political Studies

Studies demonstrate that citizenship norms and media use are important predictors of political behavior. However, it remains unclear how norms and patterns of media use influence different modes of political participation—both directly and in tandem. Here, we leverage original US survey data (N = 2200) to clarify how people’s attitudes about what it means to be a “good citizen” inform how they participate in politics, and whether certain types of media use moderate these relationships. In contrast to previous studies, we find that actualizing norms are associated with electoral, non-electoral, and individualized modes of political participation, but dutiful norms are not. In addition, although digital and traditional media use have distinct relationships with participation, there is little moderating influence. Collectively, these findings raise questions about whether the boundaries between dutiful and actualizing norms—and electoral and non-electoral participation, respectively—are still relevant in the contemporary media environment.

(2017) Routing Around Organizations: Self-Directed Political Consumption, Mobilization

Recent research on activism in the context of digital media has argued that organizing can happen outside of organizations and even without SMOs. This work has been focused primarily on the “supply side” of participation. In this article, we expand this line of work by focusing on the “demand side.” We examine the distinction between self-directed and organizationally directed activism from the perspective of the individual, finding that shifts toward movement societies, the rise of lifestyle politics, and, to a lesser extent, changing citizenship norms explain citizen preferences for self-directed versus organizationally directed political consumption. We also analyze the relationship between political interest, different kinds of digital media use, and preferences for self-directed activism. We use original data from a survey in the U.S. on political consumption.

(2016) Collective Action Frames, Advocacy Organizations, and Protests over Same-Sex Marriage in the Contemporary Media Environment, International Journal of Communication

Although new theories of collective action in the contemporary media environment have provided an expanded view of the structure of action, important questions remain. These questions include how action frames flow between advocacy organizations and individuals on social media, especially in cases in which organizations do not initiate collective action. To address this question, we used Granger tests to analyze roughly 800,000 tweets about a competing boycott and buycott campaign that occurred in 2012. We found that the conversation about the campaigns began postbureaucratically (i.e., through citizen networks). Although organizations’ involvement was associated with increased citizen attention to the campaigns, the organizations neither adopted nor influenced citizen frames on the issue. We view this as an illustration of the variable and sometimes unpredictable role of organizations in communication about collective action today.

(2016) Networked Publics: Social Media Use as a Conduit for Consumer Activism among LGBT Americans, Journal of Information Technology & Politics

We test whether connective use of social media mobilizes individuals to engage in political consumerism. Analyzing data from a 2013 survey of LGBT adults (N = 1,197), we find that those who use social media for connective activities, (e.g., to meet new LGBT friends, discuss LGBT issues), are significantly more likely to engage in boycotts or buycotts to promote equality. We find significant interactions between connective social media use and political interest. Specifically, connective social media use mobilizes people with low levels of political interest to participate and reinforces the likelihood that people with high levels of political interest participate.

(2016) The Influence of Environmentalism on Attitudes towards Local Agriculture and Urban Expansion, Society & Natural Resources

This article uses the New Ecological Paradigm (NEP) to examine attitudes toward local agriculture and land use issues in Santa Barbara County (SBC), California. To do so, we use data collected for the Central Coast Survey in 2010. Although our study has a narrow geographic scope, it has broad implications. Our results suggest that people with stronger pro-environment views support agriculture, and prefer it over urban expansion, but are also critical of agriculture's negative environmental effects. In addition, we find no significant differences between the traditionally pro-agriculture north and the traditionally pro-environment south SBC residents on key policy issues, which suggests that broad political divisions do not dictate attitudes toward rural–environment conflicts.

(2015) Digital Media and Political Participation: The Moderating Role of Political Interest across Acts and over Time, Social Science Computer Review

Political interest is a potentially important moderator of the relationship between digital media use and traditional forms of political participation. We theorize that the interaction between interest and digital media can be either positive or negative, depending on whether the action is voting, an elite-directed act, or a self-directed act. To test our expectation, we use British Election Studies data from 2001, 2005, and 2010. We find that digital media use is positively and consistently associated with political talk for those lower in political interest. For voting, we find a similar relationship that appears to be strengthening over time. For the elite-directed acts of donating money and working for a party, we find a highly variable moderating effect of political interest that can be positive, negative, or nonexistent.

(2015) Research Note on Variation in the Relationship between Digital Media Use and Political Participation in U.S. Elections over Time, 1996-2012: Does Obama’s Re-election Change the Picture?, Journal of Information Technology & Politics

In an earlier study, we examined the relationship between digital media use and six acts of political participation in the United States between 1996 and 2008. We found that digital media use was associated with participation more broadly in 2008 than in preceding years and concluded with a question about whether the relationship between digital media use and behavior might be strengthening over time. Here we add 2012 data to address that question. The extended time series, from 1996 to 2012, reinforced our main findings: (1) the relationship between digital media use and behavior exhibits highly idiosyncratic variation over time; and (2) political talk constitutes an exception because of its consistent and positive relationship with seeking political information online.

(2014) Beyond the Base? Political Parties, Citizen Activists, and Digital Media Use in the 2009 German Federal Election Campaign, Journal of Information Technology & Politics

This article examines who sees party and campaign information through social media, as well as which people share this information through social media. Using the 2009 German Longitudinal Election Study, we find that younger party members and strong partisans are more likely to see party and campaign information through social media, regardless of their income, education, or gender. In addition, party members are significantly more likely to share party and campaign information through social media. These results are promising because they suggest that parties can engage younger voters through social media sites. Moreover, they show that when parties post campaign information online, they make it easier for party members to mobilize people who might otherwise not be exposed to campaign information.

(2014) Value Change and Political Action: Postmaterialism, Political Consumerism, and Political Participation, American Politics Research

Understanding how people engage in politics, and what motivates them to do so, has been an ongoing concern in the social science literature. Over the past decade, scholarly interest in boycotts and buycotts, which collectively comprise political consumerism—the deliberate purchase or avoidance of products for political or ethical reasons—has increased. However, these activities not been well conceptualized, and it is not clear what motivates people to engage in political consumerism. In this paper, I theorize that postmaterialist values increase the likelihood of engaging in political consumerism in the United States. To test this expectation, I use original, nationally representative U.S. survey data, and I find that postmaterialist values significantly increase the likelihood of engaging in political consumerism, while materialist values not, with controls in place for partisanship, ideology, and other democratic norms.

(2014) Political Consumerism: Civic Engagement and the Social Media Connection, New Media & Society

An ongoing debate concerns the extent to which political consumerism constitutes political behavior. To address this debate, researchers have examined several predictors of political consumerism, but have not focused on its communicative dimensions, especially with respect to digital media. In this study we conceptualize political consumerism as a form of civic engagement, and we theorize that people who use social media are more likely to engage in political consumerism than those who do not. Using original survey data collected in the US, we find that political consumerism is more closely related to civic engagement than it is to political participation, and that use of social media mediates the relationship between general Internet use and political consumerism.

(2014) Conceptualizing Political Consumerism: How Citizenship Norms Differentiate Boycotting from Buycotting, Political Studies

Most of the literature treats boycotting and buycotting – which collectively comprise political consumerism – as homogeneous acts, reflecting a single mode of behavior. However, several key differences between boycotts and buycotts suggest that the predictors of boycotting should be somewhat different from those of buycotting. In this article, I theorize that boycotting is more strongly associated with dutiful citizenship norms because it is punishment oriented and has several key features in common with electoral, interest‐based politics. Buycotting, conversely, is more strongly associated with engaged citizenship norms because it is reward oriented and has more features in common with civic engagement. To test these theoretical expectations, I use original, nationally representative US survey data. The findings confirm my theoretical expectations, and they point to the role of changing citizenship norms rather than more traditional factors such as resources and psychological engagement as important in understanding contemporary political participation.

(2013) Digital Media and Traditional Political Participation over Time in the U.S., Journal of Information Technology & Politics

Research shows that digital media use is positively related to political participation. However, this relationship does not appear in all studies. To date, researchers have generally treated inconsistent findings from study to study and from election to election as an empirical problem that reflects differences in measurement and model specification. In this article, we question the assumption that a consistent relationship between Internet use and political participation should exist over time. We test this expectation using 12 years of data from the American National Election Studies. Our findings support the expectation that a general measure of Internet use for political information is not consistently related to six acts of traditional political participation across elections.