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Anthropology's perpetual concern with ethical reflexivity often leaves the value of the discipline in itself implicit and assumed. This panel will explore notions of that value, our responsibility to it, and how it might be weighed against other goods.
The discipline of anthropology is unique, amongst the social sciences, in its ethical reflexivity. Inter alia, its scandals, military complicity, colonial history, activist practitioners, and - in particular - its formal ethical guidelines are persistent focuses of debate and analysis. Balanced against the various ethical positions that inform these discussions is the assumed, and often implicit, value of anthropological research.
This panel will explore notions of what that value is and what responsibility we, as practitioners, have to it. Does anthropology have an 'internal' good (MacIntyre, 1981) which is distinct and exclusive to it, and - if so - how can it be weighed against the other goods to which anthropologists are responsible, such as those of our participants, institutions, or hosts? The panel welcomes both theoretical and ethnographic papers exploring these questions.