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Conference Themes and Strands

Conference Themes and Strands
Conference Themes and Strands

Conference Themes and Strands


Conference Themes and Strands

Participatory methodologies and epistemological issues

This conference strand deals with the legitimacy and validity of cultural and intercultural ways of constructing knowledge around the globe in all its diversity.

Which data can be obtained by means of participatory methodologies? What is involved in making a methodology “participatory”?  Should science contribute to changes for the better? How do the values and ethics of living global citizenship match the principles of value-free research? How can participatory research be defended against the academic allegation of being biased?

Transforming practices and policies

Participatory research aims at systematically generating knowledge for insight and social change in a multitude of contexts (e.g. in education, social services or health care).

How can practitioners participate in research in order to better understand and transform their practices?  How can this aid in the improvement of their organization’s situation and its political framework? How can policy makers work in participatory ways with the people to advance more socially just policies?

Promoting community development by empowering grassroots movements

In both rural and urban environments people can improve their situation by engaging in the documentation and analysis of their living conditions and the underlying local politics.

How do grassroots activists play a key role in fighting discrimination and achieving justice and equity? How can they develop plans for socio-economic growth and strengthen the confidence of local people to solve their problems? Where is traditional wisdom recognized as a precious resource for envisioning a future in prosperity and dignity? How is solidarity expressed in community development processes enhanced by participatory actions?

Participatory approaches for conflict resolution and reconciliation

Grave conflicts rooted in irreconcilable interests, and a history of violence and oppression world-wide may be challenged by juxtaposing the perspectives of the adversaries and involving them as participants in research for constructing a better world.

How can reconciliation be achieved? How can different expressions of culture - theatre, dance, poetry and arts – help the trust building and collaborative work to resolve conflicts? How can we participatorily envisage and experience new ways of living together?

Alternative globalization in a sustainable world

Knowledge democracy is an emerging concept with the goal of obtaining free access to knowledge, public ownership and ethical dissemination. Globalization need not be reduced to worldwide free markets for goods and workforces: it can also mean sharing both wealth and knowledge. Some questions are:

Who produces knowledge? In what context? And for whom?  Where is knowledge created?  How can it be used not for private profits and political benefits but for a hopeful future for all of humanity in a sustainable environment? How are we advancing to protect the planet we inhabit?