A Day In Qualitative Psychology

Call for Abstracts:

Qualitative Psychology: Critical and Post-Structural Possibilities

Pre-Conference and Special Interest Group at the 10th International Congress on Qualitative Inquiry

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Wednesday, May 21st – Saturday, May 24th, 2014


Now that Qualitative Inquiry is a recognized approach to knowledge and research practice in psychology, it’s time to think about the ways in which the process of constructing knowledge can embrace the complexity of contemporary life, beyond representations, reductions, and universals. This gathering of scholars, practitioners, and students will explore some of the most significant and exciting innovations related to post-structural and critical philosophies.


Post-structural and critical inquiries in psychology

Critique is understood as an interrogation of the terms
by which life is constrained in order to open up
the possibility for different modes of living.
(Butler, J. Undoing Gender, p. 4)


We see post-structural inquiries as moving away from attempts to provide realistic, stable, or fixed representations and from referents and answers that are not situated in historical, political, and cultural positions. In underscoring the close link between (institutional) knowledge and power, poststructural approaches to knowledge explore, participate to, and deconstruct experiences and meanings as part of discursive frames, linguistic practices, and relational realities. Knowledges that are created are non-linear, fluid, and liminal between fields and disciplines. Rather than finding finite answers, it opens up possibilities, questions, and complexities, with an eye toward issues and constructions of social justice, inequality, and liberation.

Qualitative research opens a space inside psychology
to do something radically different
to link human experience with social action
(Parker, I. Qualitative Psychology, p. 1)


Critical methodologies of research aim at creating social change while cognizant of the oppression that liberatory discourses may create on the supposed beneficiaries or participants. Aware of the political and agentic situatedness of every form of inquiry, critical researchers seek to achieve equality and/or foster resistance, usually through collaborative and mutual approaches to an identified social issue and the knowledge/practice that may be developed or performed for its amelioration. Research is transformed into a reflexive and political practice that contributes to the empowerment of participants and to their resistance against institutionalized oppression.


Event structure

Part of the International Congress of Qualitative Inquiry, this event will take place both as a pre-conference (on Wednesday afternoon) and as a Special Interest Group (SIG) throughout the conference on Friday and Saturday.

On Wednesday May 21st, in the afternoon, there will be three different events:

1) A very exciting keynote dialogue between Norman Denzin and Ken Gergen on post-structural and critical inquiries in psychology;

2) Conversation Roundtables;

3) Data playgrounds.

On Friday May 23rd and Saturday 24th, there will be paper presentations for the Special Interest Group (SIG) on Qualitative Psychology. These SIG presentations will be part of the International Congress on Qualitative Inquiry.


Presentation formats

We invite people interested in critical and post-structural approaches to knowledge to submit an abstract proposal for one of the following sharing formats:


Conversation Roundtables (Pre-conference: Wednesday afternoon)

These will focus on specific issues and dilemmas faced by qualitative psychologists at various career stages. We invite submissions on topics such as:

  • Post-qualitative research in psychology (e.g., performativity; beyond representations, identity, data, method)
  • Research for social change
  • Interweaving qualitative inquiry and professional practices (e.g., clinical, work-settings, educational, social)
  • Applying for research grants using qualitative methodologies
  • Completing a qualitative thesis/dissertation
  • Teaching qualitative research

We welcome additional topics that interested facilitators may want to suggest.


The facilitator(s) will be responsible for posing insightful and thought-provoking questions or concerns to start the conversation. They will then serve as moderators, keeping the dialogue on topic, and facilitating the collaborative contribution of all roundtable participants. At the end of the roundtable, the main topics and questions of the conversation will be shared with the larger audience.


To submit a proposal for a conversation roundtable, please send an abstract (150 words max.) indicating your area of interest, the questions or concerns you wish to discuss collaboratively, and the objectives you would like to achieve with the participants. For multiple facilitators, please include each person’s name and contact information.


Data Playground (Pre-conference: Wednesday afternoon)

Troubling pieces of data (e.g., artifacts, artworks, the body, defying explanations, power relations), novel representation styles, theoretical dilemmas and/or practical challenges in doing qualitative inquiry: these are examples of data playgrounds, in which the researcher is invited to play, reshape, and challenge prefigurative handlings of “data”. For this innovative form of communication, presenters are encouraged to playfully collaborate with the audience as part of the unfolding quest for complex and critical interpretations of data and methods of dissemination.


If you are interested to creatively play with the audience on the “ground” of your data and inquiries, please submit an abstract describing your data playground. Please clearly label the title of your abstract as being for a “data playground”.


Paper Presentations (Special Interest Group in psychology: Friday and Saturday)

A limited number of papers will be accepted for presentations in panels of four to five speakers.

Participants who wish to present with their research collaborators can suggest a fully-formed symposium.

We especially encourage unconventional forms of communication and audience involvement in which presenters show rather than read their observation or results, leading the audience to think with their presenters.


To submit a proposal for a paper presentation, please submit a title and abstract (150 words max.) of your presentation, along with keywords. To propose a symposium, the symposium’s chair should provide a title, abstract, keywords and list of presenters.  Each of these presenters will then individually submit the abstract of her/his talk.


Abstract submission procedures

Please submit your abstracts for the QUALITATIVE PSYCHOLOGY Pre-Conference or Special Interest Group (SIG) through the conference website: http://www.icqi.org/ Abstracts need to be of 150 words or less.

Each submission should clearly specify its category: conversation roundtable, data playground, or paper presentation. Please notice that the conversation roundtables and data playgrounds will be on Wed., May 21, whereas the paper presentations will be on Friday, May 23 or Saturday May 24.


Abstract submission deadline: 1 December 2013


Please be aware that this conference does not provide electronic equipment, like computers or projectors. Please feel free to contact the conference organizers for clarification or assistance related to your submission or attendance at the Day in Qualitative Psychology. We look forward to seeing you in May 2014!



Conference/SIG organizers:


  • Svend Brinkmann, University of Aalborg, Denmark
  • Mirka Koro-Ljungberg, University of Florida, USA


Student liaisons:

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