A13
Ethics, power, and consent in ethnographic fieldwork

Convenors:
James McMurray (University of Sussex)
Margaret Sleeboom-Faulkner (University of Sussex)
Stream:
Displacements of Power
Location:
Julian Study Centre 2.02
Sessions:
Wednesday 4 September, 9:00-10:30, 11:00-12:30, 16:00-17:30

Short abstract:

This panel asks if issues of confidentiality and informed consent in ethnographic fieldwork are the same under different constellations of power.

Long abstract:

This panel asks if issues of confidentiality and informed consent in ethnographic fieldwork are the same under different constellations of power. As researchers are incorporated into different relations of power, they study 'up' and 'down' and sometimes 'together'. In exploring the effect of power in relation to ethics, we ask 'How should the ethics of research respond to differences in power and authority between researcher and research participants?' Do researchers have a responsibility to recognise the same standards of informed consent for elites as they do for subordinate groups? If not, under what conditions and in whose interest can standards be compromised? Lastly, we ask how questions of consent need to be negotiated in circumstances where potential research participants from subordinate groups are constrained from informed participation by other relations of power - such as those in authoritarian societies and conflict zones?