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Ethics in the Field: Contemporary Challenges

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Volume 7

Studies of the Biosocial Society

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Ethics in the Field

Contemporary Challenges

Edited by Jeremy MacClancy and Agustín Fuentes

224 pages, 10 figs & tables, 1 map, bibliog., index

ISBN  978-0-85745-962-6 $135.00/£99.00 Hb Published (July 2013)

ISBN  978-1-78238-793-0 $29.95/£23.95 Pb Published (July 2015)

eISBN 978-0-85745-963-3 eBook

Hb Pb View cartYour country: United States - Click here to remove geolocation   Buy the eBook! $29.95 Request a Review or Examination Copy (in Digital Format) Recommend to your Library Available in GOBI®


“This book will be informative and helpful for anyone planning to do fieldwork in the social sciences. It is particularly appropriate for environmental or ecological anthropologists because of the often inter- and trans-disciplinary nature of their work and because it covers ethical and methodological issues similar to those they may encounter. Although not an introductory book on field ethics, it would be valuable for advanced undergraduate or graduate students who have previously been introduced to these issues, or as a valued addition to other more basic materials on the subject.”  ·  Journal of Ecological Anthropology

“Everyone who has anything to do with fieldwork should read this book. To my knowledge there is no other work that so clearly demonstrates the kinds of ethical dilemmas that occur routinely in the field, in all their everyday, messiness…It will appeal to anyone working within anthropological or conservation-based disciplines, but it will encourage scholars and students of virtually any discipline, even journalists, to think about the effects of their work. More, much more, this volume should be required reading for anyone who ever sits on an ethics committee.”  ·  Qualitative Research

This is an excellent volume that focuses on the ethics of fieldwork. The topics considered represent a broad array that will be of interest to a wide audience. There is nothing like this to the best of my knowledge in the available literature, and the editors are highly recognized researchers who have done a very good job of attracting eminent scholars.”  ·  Marc Bekoff, University of Colorado

Contributors to this volume nicely and clearly present a diverse array of examples, case studies, and data, revealing the multi-dimensionality of ethics as well as dilemmas and challenges that fieldworkers might expectedly or accidentally encounter and/or face during the course of their work.”  ·  Tatyana Humle, University of Kent


In recent years ever-increasing concerns about ethical dimensions of fieldwork practice have forced anthropologists and other social scientists to radically reconsider the nature, process, and outcomes of fieldwork: what should we be doing, how, for whom, and to what end? In this volume, practitioners from across anthropological disciplines—social and biological anthropology and primatology—come together to question and compare the ethical regulation of fieldwork, what is common to their practices, and what is distinctive to each discipline. Contributors probe a rich variety of contemporary questions: the new, unique problems raised by conducting fieldwork online and via email; the potential dangers of primatological fieldwork for locals, primates, the environment, and the fieldworkers themselves; the problems of studying the military; and the role of ethical clearance for anthropologists involved in international health programs. The distinctive aim of this book is to develop of a transdisciplinary anthropology at the methodological, not theoretical, level.

Jeremy MacClancy is Professor of Anthropology and Director of Anthropological Centre for Conservation, the Environment and Development at Oxford Brookes University.

Agustín Fuentes is Professor and Chair of Anthropology at the University of Notre Dame, where he is chair of the department.

Subject: Theory and Methodology Applied Anthropology


Chapter 1. The ethical fieldworker, and other problems
Jeremy MacClancy & Agustín Fuentes

Chapter 2. Constructing success and controlling information: the place of ethical clearance in international health
Melissa Parker & Tim Allen

Chapter 3. Ethical issues in the study and conservation of an African great ape in non-protected human-dominated habitat
Matt R. McLennan and Catherine M. Hill

Chapter 4. Are observational field studies really noninvasive?
Karen Strier

Chapter 5. Complex and heterogeneous ethical structures in field primatology
Nobuyuki Kutsukake

Chapter 6. Contemporary Ethical Issues in Field Primatology
Katherine MacKinnon and Erin Riley

Chapter 7. The Ethics of Conducting Field Research: Do Long-term Great Ape Field Studies Help to Conserve Primates?
Anna Nekaris & Vincent Nijman

Chapter 8. Studying suffering: the ethics of studying contested illness
Susie Kilshaw

Chapter 9. Messy Ethics: Negotiating the terrain between ethics approval and ethical practice
Tina Miller

Chapter 10. Key Ethical Considerations Which Inform the Use of Anonymous Asynchronous Websurveys in ‘Sensitive’ Research
Em Rundall

Chapter 11. Covering all bases, or covering our backs? An ethnography of URECs
Jeremy MacClancy

Notes on Contributors

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