My research is focused on American political behavior, political communication, and American political development, with particular focus on the intersection of the internet and politics. In particular I am focused on major changes in political communication over time and how these changes impact political culture and access to political power.
You can find my research on google scholar here
The Only Constant is Change: Technology, Political Communication, and Innovation Over Time. Oxford University Press. 2018. Available at OUP: https://bit.ly/2H9vBKW and Amazon: https://amzn.to/2HjuNDm, (Please contact me if you have trouble accessing or can’t afford a copy of the book)
Summary: Over the course of American political history, political elites and organizations have often updated their political communications strategies in order to achieve longstanding political communication goals in more efficient or effective ways. But why do successful innovations occur when they do, and what motivates political actors to make choices about how to innovate their communication tactics?
Covering over 300 years of political communication innovations, The Only Constant is Change shows how this process of change happens and why. To do this, Epstein, following an interdisciplinary approach, proposes a new model called “the political communication cycle” that accounts for the technological, behavioral, and political factors that lead to revolutionary political communication changes over time. These changes (at least the successful ones) have been far from gradual, as long periods of relatively stable political communication activities have been disrupted by brief periods of dramatic and permanent transformation. These transformations are driven by political actors and organizations, and tend to follow predictable patterns.
The Only Constant is Change moves beyond the technological determinism that characterizes communication history scholarship and the medium-specific focus of much political communication work. The book identifies the political communication revolutions that have, in the United States, led to four, relatively stable political communication orders over history: the elite, mass, broadcast, and (the current) information orders. It identifies and tests three phases of each revolutionary cycle, ultimately sketching possible paths for the future. The Only Constant is Change offers readers and scholars a model and vocabulary to compare political communication changes across time and between different types of political organizations. This provides greater understanding of where we are currently in the recurring political communication cycle, and where we might be headed.
Two Decades of E-Government Diffusion Among Local Governments in the United States. 2022. Government Information Quarterly. 2022.
Do Squeaky Wheels Get the Grease? Understanding When and How Municipalities Respond to Online Requests. New Media & Society. 2021. Co-Authored with Leticia Bode and Jennifer Connolly.
The (Surprisingly Interesting) Story of Email in the 2016 Presidential Election (co-authored with Jeffrey Broxmeyer). Journal of Information Technology and Politics, 2020. 17 (3).
Wait Haven’t We Been Here Before A Method for Using History to Help Political Communication Scholarship, published in Political Communication, 2020
Explaining the Varying Levels of Adoption of E-government Services in American Municipal Government (co-authored with Jennifer Connolly and Leticia Bode) published in State and Local Government Review, 2018.
Campaign Klout: Measuring Online Influence During the 2012 Election (co-authored with Leticia Bode) published in the Journal of Information Technology and Politics, 2015.
Chapters in Edited Volumes:
“The Speed of Technology vs. The Speed of Democracy.” Essay published in edited volume: U.S. Election Analysis 2020: Media, Voters, and the Campaign, ed. Daniel Jackson, Danielle Sarver Coombs, Filippo Trevisan, Darren Lilleker, and Einar Thorsen. The Centre for Comparative Politics and Media Research, 2020.
“Why It Is So Difficult to Regulate Disinformation Online.” Chapter included in edited volume entitled The Disinformation Age: Politics, Technology, and Disruptive Communication in the United States. Published by Cambridge University Press, 2020.
Other Research Projects:
- How marginalized groups have innovated their political communication strategies historically and in the modern hybrid media system.
- How to implement more effective web-based instruction for political science instructors.
- the 2016 Presidential election as a case study of where we are currently in the Political Communication Cycle (PCC), the multistage recurring process that is central to my recent book The Only Constant is Change.
- Review of Pedagogical Training in Political Science PhD Granting Institutions. Initial APSA grant development underway. (with Ian Hartshorn)
The Revolution Will Not Be Televised Anymore: New Technology, Political Choice, and Changes in Political Communication from the Newspaper to the Internet, City University of New York Graduate Center, 2011.