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Accepted Paper:

Giving voice or becoming a mouthpiece?  
Nerina Weiss (Fafo Institute for Applied International Studies)

Paper short abstract:

Working in conflict areas, anthropologists often find themselves between two extreme ethical positions, which are impossible to satisfy.

Paper long abstract:

Working in conflict areas, anthropologists often find themselves between two extreme ethical positions, which are impossible to satisfy. Rigid structural frameworks make (legal) access to the field difficult. On the other hand, we are expected to give voice to the oppressed and to bring injustice and human rights violations to light. Fellow anthropologists and not least our interlocutors expect us to become morally and politically involved. Drawing on ethnographic fieldwork among Kurdish activists in Turkey, I elaborate how fieldwork became a political endeavor, as I was forced to take sides, and had unequal access to all warring parties. But by becoming political and giving voice to the oppressed, are we not at the risk to become the mouthpiece of certain political groups and their interest - on the expense of those already silenced by their political discourses?

Panel W086
Ethics in conflict: doing research in conflict areas and the ethical dilemmas that arise
  Session 1