The 2022 GoPar conference – Going beyond binary thinking: Dialogues for participation, communication and equity in contemporary societies

27-29 April 2022 online, Jönköping University, Sweden


The international GoPar conference brings together researchers, professional actors and cultural workers, regional, national and transnational authorities, leaders of civil society, politicians, stake-holders, members of non-profits, media across sectors from across the world and Sweden to dialogue on issues of participation, communication and equity in contemporary societies. The Communication, Culture and Diversity (CCD) research environment (www.ju.se/ccd) and the Participation and Inclusion Think-Tank DoIT (www.ju.se/ccd/doit) are the organizers of the GoPar conference. The online event consists of workshops, panel discussions and keynote presentations.

Participants: Researchers and professionals from across the world and Sweden

Structure: Workshops, panels and keynotes

Place: Zoom

 

The GoPar theme

Issues related to participation and equity are primarily framed in terms of integration/inclusion and segregation/exclusion, and in some instances through affirmative action. Participation and equity are often discussed in relation to issues of communication, identity and diversity in contemporary societies. These together constitute hegemonic problematic key discourses with regards to democratic agendas at local, regional, national and transnational settings since the end of World War II. Participation and equity have constituted key prioritized goals for all humans across the lifespan and across various life arenas for many decades (at least in democratically framed societies). These areas include compulsory education, higher education, culture, policy, government, civil society, etc. Furthermore, integration/inclusion across societal contexts and institutions have become a mantra across the world given recent demographic shifts related to mobility and digitalization more generally, and in spaces that are conceptualized in terms of the global-North more specifically.

At the same time participation and equity are beyond the reach of many people who are side-lined through explicit and covert tendencies of ableism, sexism and racism. These tendencies need to be interrogated given the largely global-North hegemonies that shape societal efforts in singular universalizing ways. Going beyond global-North binaries of inclusion-exclusion, integrating-segregating, able-disabled, native person-foreigner, etc., the GoPar conference will be an arena for dialogues that open up for a shift towards alternative understandings regarding participation and equity. A going-beyond-binary thinking is conceived as a move towards a third position. GoPar aligns with alternative North/South knowledge regimes. Here, the multisidedness of participation and equity and the complexities of being human across different settings are upfronted.

From such a Going Beyond thinking it becomes crucial to identify who is focused upon, by whom, why and who has the power to decide the enabling/disabling framings for participation and equity. Thus, queries like the following become important:

  • What are the ways in which notions of participation and equity, and binaries like inclusion-exclusion, integration-segregation, etc. play out in and across institutional contexts across time and space?
  • How do identity positions intersect in policy and the everyday lives of institutions and/or human beings?
  • What webs-of-understandings intersect to enable-disable the participation of people across the lifespan in societies in general and institutional contexts in particular?
  • What is it that gets erased and/or silenced when it comes to issues of participation and equity, and by whom?
  • What do such erasures and silences imply?

The invited activities at GoPar include workshops, panels and keynotes. They aim to illuminate webs-of-understandings with regards to participation and equity spelled out in terms of issues of communication, identity and diversity in contemporary societies. In addition to different identity markers (such as labels and diagnoses) that curtail or enhance participation and equity in and across time and spaces, the GoPar activities will focus on a wide range of social identities and roles that frame human life trajectories. In doing so, the invited workshops, panels and keynotes will complexify rather than take ideological or “quick-fix” points of departure on issues of communication, identity and diversity.

Research and professional invited workshops, panels and keynotes: The invited activities will have both an explicit multi/cross/inter/transdisciplinary ethos and a cross-sectorial participation. Participants will include researchers who draw upon historical and/or ethnographical studies from across disciplines and members of diverse sectors like compulsory education, higher education, culture, policy, government, civil society, etc. Themes at GoPar activities are related to individual and institutional ways-of-being and webs-of-understandings regarding participation, equity and being human, including how these are related to democracy. Thus, researchers and professionals from across the world and Sweden will meet in the GoPar event to exchange views, experiences and practices in order to create new knowledge that is relevant and that creates bridges across sectors, identity markers as well as epistemologies.

References:

Bagga-Gupta, S. (2020). A third-position regarding a one-school/society-for-all. On “making the impossible possible” and “driven for culture, young-people and coffee”. In Bagga-Gupta, S. & Weckström, P. (Eds.) On 3rd positions in democratic contexts. An education-for-all, culture-for-all and a society-for-all. Research Report Nr 11. (in English and Swedish), Jönköping University, School of Education and Communication. ISBN-Nr.: 978-91-88339-22-5. : http://urn.kb.se/resolve?urn=urn:nbn:se:hj:diva-48145