ethics in anthropological fieldwork l.
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Ethics in Anthropological Fieldwork. Case Studies. CASE 1.

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case 1
CASE 1
  • TERRY KELLY (PSEUDONYM) RECEIVED A NIMH GRANT FOR RESEARCH IN THE WESTERN TROPICS. AS PART OF HER PERSONAL GEAR, SHE TOOK ALONG A CONSIDERABLE AMOUNT OF MEDICATION WHICH HER PHYSICIAN HAD PRESCRIBED FOR USE, SHOULD SHE FIND HERSELF IN A MALARIA REGION. AFTER SETTLING INTO A VILLAGE, KELLY BECAME AWARE THAT MANY OF THE LOCAL PEOPLE WERE QUITE ILL WITH MALARIA.
  • KELLY’S DILEMMA: SINCE SHE HAD A LARGE SUPPLY OF MEDICATION, MORE THAN SHE NEEDED FOR HER PERSONAL USE, SHOULD SHE DISTRIBUTE THE SURPLUS TO HER HOSTS?
case 2
CASE 2
  • JERRY VAUGHN (PSEUDONYM) CONTRACTED WITH A FEDERAL AGENCY TO CONDUCT A SOCIAL IMPACT ASSESSMENT OF PROPOSED CHANGES IN AN INDIGENOUS REGION OF NORTH AMERICA. THE CONTRACT CONTAINED NO STIPULATIONS REGARDING OWNERSHIP OF DATA. IN ORDER TO DETERMINE THE POTENTIAL IMPACTS ON THE CULTURE, VAUGHN ENGAGED IN PARTICIPANT OBSERVATION, KEPT DETAILED FIELD NOTES, CONDUCTED IN-DEPTH INTERVIEWS, AND TOOK PHOTOGRAPHS OF PEOPLE WORKING, AND ENGAGING IN EVERYDAY ACTIVITIES.
  • VAUGHN WAS PAID 75% OF HIS CONTRACTED SALARY BEFORE THE FIELDWORK. VAUGHN THEN WROTE A DETAILED REPORT OF POTENTIAL ADVERSE EFFECTS IF THE PLANS WERE IMPLEMENTED AND CONCLUDED THAT THE CULTURE WOULD BE TOTALLY ALTERED. THE AGENCY DIRECTOR INSTRUCTED VAUGHN TO TURN OVER HIS ENTIRE RESEARCH RECORD SO IT COULD SOLICIT ANOTHER OPINION ON THE MATTER. UNLESS HE TURNED OVER HIS RECORD, NO FUTHER PAYMENT WOULD BE MADE TO HIM.
  • VAUGHN’S DILEMMA: SHOULD HE TURN OVER THE INTERVIEW MATERIALS, PHOTOGRAPHS, AND FIELD NOTES, WHICH CONTAINED SENSITIVE AND PERSONAL INFORMATION, OR SHOULD HE TURN OVER ONLY PART OF HIS RECORD, OR SHOULD HE REFUSE TO TURN ANYTHING OVER TO THE AGENCY?
case 3
CASE 3
  • MARY THOMPSON (PSEUDONYM) WAS CONDUCTING FEILDWORK IN A SOUTHEAST ASIAN COMMUNITY. HER HOUSE WAS LOCATED ON THE EDGE OF THE VILLAGE PLAZA ALLOWING HER TO READILY OBSERVE DAILY ACTIVITIES.
  • ONE NIGHT, THOMPSON WAS DISTRACTED BY A LOUD ARGUMENT OUTSIDE HER HOUSE. JUST AS SHE STEPPED FROM HER DOORWAY, SHE SAW A MAN RAISE HIS MACHETE AND DELIVER A DEADLY BLOW TO ANOTHER MAN IN THE GROUP. STUNNED SILENCE FELL OVER THE MEN AS THEY WATCHED THEIR COMPANION BLEED TO DEATH. PEOPLE THROUGHOUT THE VILLAGE CRIED AND WAILED OVER THE DEATH. THE NEXT DAY, THE FAMILY BURIED THE DEAD MAN. THE FAMILY ALLOWED THE MAN WHO DEALT THE DEADLY BLOW TO MAKE A DEATH PAYMENT. TWO DAYS LATER, THREE POLICEMEN CAME TO THE VILLAGE, IN AN EFFORT TO ARREST THE MURDERER AND TO REDUCE BLOOD FEUDS. THEY BEGAN QUESTIONING THE VILLAGERS. THOMPSON HAD WRITTEN A DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE KILLING IN A NOTEBOOK THAT CONTAINED ALL HER FIELD NOTES.
  • THOMPSON’S DILEMMA: 1. SINCE SHE KNOWS THE POLICE WILL QUESTION HER, SHOULD SHE QUICKLY TEAR OUT AND DESTROY THE PAGES IN HER NOTEBOOK WHERE THE MURDER WAS RECORDED? 2. WHEN QUESTIONED BY THE POLICE, SHOULD SHE PLEAD IGNORANCE CONCERNING THE KILLING?
case 4
CASE 4
  • MIRA WALTON (PSEUDONYM) SPENT 2 YEARS IN MELANESIA CONDUCTING RESEARCH IN A RURAL VILLAGE. SHE RETURNED TO THE U.S. AND WROTE AN ETHNOGRAPHY IN WHICH SHE DESCRIBED VILLAGE DISPUTE SETTLEMENT IN DETAIL (BROKEN MARRIAGE CONTRACTS, ENCROACHMENT ON NEIGHBORS’ LANDS, THEFT, MISMANAGEMENT OF COMMUNITY RESOURCES, FAMILY FEUDS, AND BLOOD-FEUDS). TO PROTECT PEOPLE IN THE VILLAGE, WALTON USED PSEUDONYMS FOR THE VILLAGE AND INDIVIDUALS MENTIONED IN THE ETHNOGRAPHY.
  • SHE RETURNED TO THE COMMUNITY, TAKING ALONG COPIES OF THE BOOK. SINCE MANY PEOPLE WERE LITERATE, THEY READ HER BOOK. WALTON RECEIVED PERMISSION TO CONDUCT FURTHER RESEARCH. SHE WAS CALLED TO A VILLAGE MEETING. VILLAGE ELDERS TOLD HER THAT SHE HAD DONE AN ACCURATE JOB OF DESCRIBING DISPUTE SETTLEMENT AND VILLAGE POLITICAL STRUCTURE, BUT HAD GOTTEN THE NAME OF THE VILLAGE AND NAMES OF THE INDIVIDUALS INVOLVED IN THE DISPUTES WRONG. PEOPLE AT THE MEETING INSISTED THAT IN THE NEXT BOOK SHE SHOULD USE THE CORRECT NAMES.
  • WALTON’S DILELMMA: GIVEN THAT THE COMMUNITY EXPECTED HER TO PUBLISH THIS NEW BOOK, SHOULD SHE (1) DEFER TO THE VILLAGERS’ INSISTANCE THAT SHE PUBLISH THE CORRECT NAME OF THE VILLAGE AND THE CORRECT NAMES OF VILLAGERS? OR (2) SHOULD SHE RELY ON THE AAA PRICIPLES OF PROFESSIONAL RESPONSIBILITY AND USE PSEUDONYMS IN THE NEW BOOK?
case 5
CASE 5
  • GEORGE PHILIPS (PSEUDONYM) CONDUCTED FIELDWORK IN SMALL RURAL COMMUNITIES IN SOUTHEAST ASIA. AS PHILIPS BECAME ACCEPTED IN THESE COMMUNITIES, HE WAS FREQUENTLY INVITED INTO PEOPLES’ HOMES WHERE CONVERSATIONS REVEALED THAT FREQUENT ABORTIONS WERE BEING PERFORMED ON LOCAL WOMEN. HE LEARNED THAT THE GOVERNMENT POSITION ON POPULATION CONTROL, COUPLED WITH AN INADEQUATE ACCESS TO BIRTH CONTROL AND LACK OF SEX EDUCATION, WAS CONTRIBUTING TO THE AUTHORITIES’ DECISION TO TERMINATE PREGNANCIES. PHILIPS LEARNED THAT SOME ABORTIONS WERE BEING PERFORMED AS LATE AS EIGHT AND ONE-HALF MONTHS.
  • PHILIPS’ DILEMMA: SHOULD PHILIPS CALL ATTENTION TO THE PRACTICE OF FORCED ABORTION?
background
BACKGROUND
  • 1919 FRANZ BOAS PUBLISHED HIS OUTRAGE AGAINST 4 ANTHROPOLOGISTS ENGAGED IN INTELLEGENCE GATHERING DURING WARTIME
the nation
THE NATION
  • “A person who uses science as a cover for political spying, who demeans himself to pose before a foreign government as an investigator, under this cloak, prostitutes science in an unpardonable way and forfeits the right to be classed as a scientist.”
slide9
BOAS FOUNDED THE AAA, BUT WAS THE ONLY ANTHROPOLOGIST EVER CENSURED BY THE AAA EXECUTIVE COUNCIL
  • THE ISSUE RE-EMERGED 50 YEARS LATER
project camelot 1964 a turning point
PROJECT CAMELOT (1964): A TURNING POINT
  • CARRIED OUT BY DEPT. OF ARMY
  • TO CONTAIN COUNTER-INSURGENCY & REVOLUTION IN LATIN AMERICA
  • A CHILEAN SOCIAL SCIENTIST PROTESTED
  • SOCIAL SCIENCES ADDRESSED ETHICAL ISSUES, ADOPTED CODES OF ETHICS
slide11
CAMELOT FORCED ANTHROPOLOGY TO TAKE A CRITICAL LOOK AT ITSELF
  • THIS FUNDAMENTAL CHANGE WAS EXPRESSED IN THE 1967 PRINCIPLES OF PROFESSIONAL RESPONSIBILITY

http://www.aaanet.org/stmts/ethstmnt.htm

  • 50 YEARS LATER, BOAS WAS EXHONORATED
2009 aaa newsletter
2009 AAA Newsletter
  • Ethics issues continue…
  • Vietnam War (1967-73)
    • Anthropologists involved in counterinsurgency
  • Call for a new Code in 1971
  • 1984 Code revision (applied anthropology)
    • Clandestine research removed
2009 aaa approves a new code
2009 AAA Approves a New Code
  • In 2007 Terence Turner sought to reintroduce the ban on clandestine research from the 1971 Code of Ethics
  • In the 2009 Code, “classified” research is not allowed, but that depends on what “classified” means
  • Roberto J González and Hugh Gusterson: Many argue that the AAA should not have a grievance procedure for investigating potential ethics violations, but shouldn’t there be some sort of response when actions clearly defy the association and its interpretation of ethical obligations?
life is full of hard choices
Life is Full of Hard Choices
  • Janet Levy:
  • 1998 Adjudication/sanctions removed
    • Definition: Diversity—how to define violations?
      • Does not license anthropolgists—no means to sanction
    • Work Load
    • Liability
an educational model
An Educational Model
  • Carolyn Fluehr-Lobban
    • Dilemmas debated among students
    • An educational model shifts the responsibility for ethical conduct to the individual anthropologist
anthropologists military engagement
Anthropologists & Military Engagement
  • Ian Harper:
  • In other nations of the global south the government is a leading employer of anthropologists and collaboration with the government is routine
  • Re: counterinsurgency--“When does professional expertise cease to be expertise and move into the shadowy area of collaboration?”
comparing ethics codes
Comparing Ethics Codes
  • Rena Lederman:
  • Participant Observation vs. Sociology
    • Disguised observation & informed consent
  • Psychology experiments & disclosure of aims (deception & debriefing)
    • APA forbids deception unless justified by significant scientific, educational, or applied value
the ethics of organs trafficking research
The Ethics of Organs-Trafficking Research
  • Nancy Scheper-Hughes:

Organs Watch Project

  • How do you ask permission to study illegal and criminal behavior?
  • IRB exemption to document illegal traffic in human organs
    • Posed as donor seeker to Turkish organ traffickers
    • Interviewed poor who sold kidneys out of need of money
scheper hughes
Scheper-Hughes:
  • “All the rules of fieldwork practice and ethics seemed inadequate”
  • “In posing as a kidney buyer in order to understand the misery that prompts a person to bargain over the value of his kidney—I was complicit in the behavior”
  • “Anthropologists are not detectives, and we are trained to hold anthropologist–informant relations as a sacred trust. But surely this does not mean that one has to be a bystander to international crimes against vulnerable populations”