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Social Movements and Governing Power

From 2008 to 2019, the USC Equity Research Institute (ERI) published reports under our previous name, the USC Program for Environmental and Regional Equity (PERE). 

June 2015

By Rachel Rosner and Madeline Wander
Executive Summary by Manuel Pastor

What role do movement networks play in social movement building? What are the conditions for innovative, values-based leadership development to strengthen cross-movement innovation and collaborations?

Linking the Lab is the result of a multi-year project—called the “Network Leadership Innovation Lab” and created by Management Assistance Group (now called Change Elemental)—aimed at better understanding the role and effectiveness of network leadership in movement building.

PERE’s report presents the story of the Lab, the experiences of 16 bridge-building leaders, and the mechanics of the program’s unique leadership development approaches. The authors explore why movement networks matter, apply an evaluation framework, and offer insights into the processes, mechanics, and conditions that support leaders engaged in cross-movement learning, innovation, and action.

Linking in the Lab also provides key recommendations and lessons for the broader fields of movement building, leadership, organizational, and network development.

About the Network Leadership Innovation Lab

Management Assistance Group (MAG) brought together sixteen social justice leaders from eight organizations for the Network Leadership Innovation Lab to learn with and from each other about common challenges and promising practices of working at the nexus of movement networks and organizations.

The Lab program included dialogue, analysis, partnership, co-creation and active learning among funders, capacity-builders, and other thinkers and doers.

Download report

Read our other publications by research area

    Immigrant Integration & Racial Justice

    Our work on immigrant integration and racial justice brings together three emphases: scholarship that draws on academic theory and rigorous research, data that provides information structured to highlight the process of immigrant integration over time, and engagement that seeks to create new dialogues with government, community organizers, business and civic leaders, immigrants and the voting public to advance immigrant integration and racial equity.

    Economic Inclusion & Climate Equity

    In the area of economic inclusion, we at ERI advance academic theory and practical applications linking economic growth, environmental quality, and civic health with bridging of racial and other gaps; produce accessible and actionable data and analysis through the data tools; and establish research partnerships to deepen and advance the dialogue, planning, and actions around racial equity, environmental justice, and the built environment.

    Social Movements & Governing Power

    ERI’s work in the area of governing power includes: conducting cross-disciplinary studies of today’s social movements, supporting learning and strategizing efforts to advance dialogues among organizers, funders, intermediaries, evaluators, and academics, and developing research-based social change frameworks and tools to inform—and be informed by—real-world, real-time efforts towards a vision of deep change.

    Publications Directory

    In 2020, the USC Program for Environmental and Regional Equity (PERE) and the USC Center for the Study of Immigrant Integration (CSII) merged to form the USC Equity Research Institute (ERI).

    The full list of publications published under our previous and current names can be found in our publications directory.

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