The early history of professional anthropology is characterized by chronic ambivalence between, on one hand, participation in colonial rule (providing insights into native social and political organization) and in postcolonial economic domination (helping to overcome perceived “cultural barriers to development”) and, on the other hand, the role of culturally informed “conscience” of Western powers (revealing and denouncing social injustices and vulgar misrepresentations of exotic alterity). From the 1970s, anthropology’s critical role gradually became dominant among academic practitioners. A reflexive, critical approach to field research thus emerged from within the discipline years before the institutionalization of research ethics discourses and protocols. As funding bodies and universities came to introduce formal ethics protocols largely derived from regulations developed in relation to medical research in the 1980s, professional anthropologists first responded with irony and resistance. This was not only because the discipline had invested considerable energy over many years in questioning and reevaluating the position of the researcher and the consequences of her actions but also because the generic expectations of ethics protocols were poorly suited to a discipline based on long-term immersive field research. Anthropological departments, careers, and scholarship were built over decades of professional involvement in field research and had developed distinctive but informal protocols based on a long-standing tradition of working across regional, cultural, and social divides. We argue that the best basis for any ethics of the discipline lies in continued reflection on case studies of ethical dilemmas in anthropological research and that special attention should be paid to data ownership and protection, consent, and the treatment of incidental findings.

The Ethics of Anthropology / Grotti, Vanessa; Brightman, Marc. - ELETTRONICO. - (2019), pp. 1-18. [10.1007/978-3-319-76040-7_37-1]

The Ethics of Anthropology

Grotti, Vanessa
;
Brightman, Marc
2019

Abstract

The early history of professional anthropology is characterized by chronic ambivalence between, on one hand, participation in colonial rule (providing insights into native social and political organization) and in postcolonial economic domination (helping to overcome perceived “cultural barriers to development”) and, on the other hand, the role of culturally informed “conscience” of Western powers (revealing and denouncing social injustices and vulgar misrepresentations of exotic alterity). From the 1970s, anthropology’s critical role gradually became dominant among academic practitioners. A reflexive, critical approach to field research thus emerged from within the discipline years before the institutionalization of research ethics discourses and protocols. As funding bodies and universities came to introduce formal ethics protocols largely derived from regulations developed in relation to medical research in the 1980s, professional anthropologists first responded with irony and resistance. This was not only because the discipline had invested considerable energy over many years in questioning and reevaluating the position of the researcher and the consequences of her actions but also because the generic expectations of ethics protocols were poorly suited to a discipline based on long-term immersive field research. Anthropological departments, careers, and scholarship were built over decades of professional involvement in field research and had developed distinctive but informal protocols based on a long-standing tradition of working across regional, cultural, and social divides. We argue that the best basis for any ethics of the discipline lies in continued reflection on case studies of ethical dilemmas in anthropological research and that special attention should be paid to data ownership and protection, consent, and the treatment of incidental findings.
2019
Handbook of Research Ethics and Scientific Integrity
1
18
The Ethics of Anthropology / Grotti, Vanessa; Brightman, Marc. - ELETTRONICO. - (2019), pp. 1-18. [10.1007/978-3-319-76040-7_37-1]
Grotti, Vanessa; Brightman, Marc
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11585/714328
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