This panel, co-convened by the WCAA Ethics Taskforce and the WCAA-IUAES Working Group on Anthropological Fieldwork and Risk in a Violent World, explores ethical questions related to anthropological fieldwork in theatres of action around the world that are deemed 'risky' or 'dangerous'.
Morality and ethics lie at the heart of how worlds are made and unmade through movement. Understanding mobility and immobility, passages and stoppages, requires research on, and in the midst of, violence. Ethics review boards are increasingly deeming such research too 'risky', thereby stigmatizing entire world regions as 'dangerous'. This panel, jointly convened by the WCAA Ethics Taskforce and the WCAA-IUAES Working Group on Anthropological Fieldwork and Risk in a Violent World, continues conversation on 'dangerous' fieldwork begun at the 2016 IUAES Inter-Congress. We invite papers from various 'horizons and traditions of the anthropological world' (Fassin 2014: 430) that address the political dimensions of fieldwork ethics in violent situations. Fassin (2014: 432-33) criticizes investigations that limit themselves to an 'alternative between the respect of rules and the realization of the self', and that do not include 'the evaluation of the consequences of what one does or does not do'. He argues that such approaches constitute 'a form of depoliticization'. Thus, this panel will reflect not only on concepts of duty, virtue and freedom (Laidlaw 2014), but will also pay close attention to consequentialist ethics and the effects of human action in the world. We will pursue comparative inquiry into dilemmas that participants face in different theatres of movement and action around the world, particularly situations of crisis and conflict.
Fassin, Didier. 2014. "The ethical turn in anthropology: promises and uncertainties." Hau 4 (1): 429-435.
Laidlaw, James. 2014. The subject of virtue: An anthropology of ethics and freedom. Cambridge: CUP