At P3, we envision a world where people’s participation in public life is possible, probable, and powerful: people across race and class have to be able to participate, they have to want to participate, and their participation has to matter. Realizing this vision necessitates designing a new civic architecture that enables people to engage in public life in ways that are grounded in their own experience, connected to one another, and organized through vehicles of collective action that give people ownership over the ongoing process of systemic struggle and change.
We are a multi-disciplinary research lab based at the SNF Agora Institute at Johns Hopkins University committed to learning and shared inquiry that meets the twin goals of relevance and rigor while helping to realize our vision. Our work simultaneously pushes the frontiers of strategic thinking in organizing and knowledge-building in academic scholarship.
We ground our research in an analysis of people’s fight for power and voice in public life, an understanding of the struggle for power as dependent on dynamic strategy, and a recognition that people’s greatest source of power is their ability to act as a collective.
Our research is animated by three key questions:
- How do we identify and remove barriers to making participation possible?
- What strategies can movements and organizations use to pull people of all kinds off the sidelines of public life and make their actions more probable?
- How can movements and organizations translate the engagement of their base into the power they need to realize the world they want?
Our work differentiates itself not just in what we study, but how we study it. We are focused particularly on research that helps identify and sharpen the strategic choices political actors make. We believe in co-creating knowledge between academics and practitioners, and all of our research seeks to meet the highest standards of academic rigor while also generating usable knowledge for movement leaders and communities.
Our lab also invests in broadly sharing what we learn to support organizations and movements in building power, to advance the frontiers of academic research, and to support funders in understanding the landscape of collective action and power building.
Finally, we make deep investments in the next generation of scholars, with a focus on Black, Indigenous, and people of color, working class, and queer scholars, to increase capacity for research that sits at the intersection of movements and academia.
Photo Credit: ISAIAH