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

Between 27-29 April 2022 Jönköping University in Sweden will host the GoPar conference, an international event that aims to bring together academics and professional actors 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 ( and the Participation and Inclusion Think-Tank DoIT ( are the organizers of the GoPar conference. The event will take place online, and will consist of workshops, panel discussions and keynote presentations.


Theme title: Going beyond binary thinking: Dialogues for participation, communication and equity in contemporary societies

Participants: Researchers and professionals from across the world and Sweden

Structure: Panels and invited keynotes

Place: Zoom

Call for Papers: Further information will be posted

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. These constitute key discourses with regards to democratic agendas at local, regional, national and transnational settings since the end of the second world war. They constitute key prioritized goals for all humans across the lifespan and across various life arenas, including compulsory education, higher education and culture for many decades (at least in democratically framed societies). Furthermore, integration/inclusion across societal contexts and institutions have become a critical agenda in societies 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 issues of participation, equity and marginalization are increasingly understood as being out of reach for increasing numbers of people who are side-lined through explicit but also covert tendencies of ableism, sexism and racism. These tendencies need to be interrogated given the largely global-North hegemonies that shape frontline scholarships societal efforts in singular universal ways. Going beyond such global-North binaries of inclusion-exclusion, integrating-segregating, able-disabled, native person-foreigner, etc., including mono- and multi/ transdisciplinary research, the GoPar conference invites participation to dialogue with the aim of contributing towards alternative understandings regarding participation and equity. Drawing attention to a going-beyond-binary thinking through a “third position”, this invitation aligns with North/South epistemologies in terms of alternative knowledge regimes. Here, the multisidedness of participation and communication, including the complexities of being human across different settings are upfronted.

From such a framing, queries like the following become important through both a dialogical stance and alternative alignments: What are the ways in which notions of participation, communication, equity, and the binary inclusion-exclusion play out in and across institutional contexts in contemporary societies? How do identity positions intersect in policy and the mundane doings of the lives of institutions and/or human beings’ lived experiences? What webs-of-understandings collate to enable-disable children, young people and adults’ participation in societies in general and institutional contexts in particular (that are understood as being democratic)? What is it that we don’t talk about when it comes to issues of participation, communication and equity? What do such silences imply? Who is in focus, with whom and who has the power to decide the enabling/disabling framings for participation and equity?

The GoPar conference provides non-ideological spaces for dialogues that draw attention to a “going beyond” agenda in terms of a third- position that aims to illuminate what it means to be human in contemporary times. It does so by putting the spotlight on issues related to participation/non-participation and equity/inequity and the ways in which learning to participate is enabled/disabled for institutions and/or individuals. In other words, its interest lies in drawing traction from both multi/cross/inter/transdisciplinary and cross-sectorial thinking with the intent to make visible the work that institutions and/or individuals “do”, and through that illuminate processes of marginalization and participation. The invited panels and keynotes at the conference will aim to illuminate webs-of-understandings with regards to “doings”, participation and learning. These shape issues of inclusion and exclusion that contribute to specific positionalities in democratic societies in the 21st century.

In addition to different labels and diagnoses that curtail or enhance participation and accessibility in and across various types of contexts, GoPar contributions will focus on a wide range of social identities and roles at specific moments that frame human life trajectories. In doing so, the invited panels and keynotes will complexify rather than take ideological or “quick-fix” points of departure on issues of communication and identity.

Research and professional invited presentations: The presentations will draw upon historical and/or ethnographical studies from across disciplines and societal sectors. The presentations will have an explicit multi/cross/inter/transdisciplinary ethos. They will also contribute to a third-position 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.

The research presentations will display methodological openness and include long-term ethnographic engagement in the lives of single or multiple case-studies across institutional settings, policy, the everyday lives of people boxed into categories and philosophical-empirical engagements on mainstream meanings of participation and communication across time.

The presentations by professionals will contribute to dialogues in panel discussions from practical – both grassroots and managerial – perspectives that connect to, and critically discuss methodologies and results by the research presenters. 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.


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. :