Accepted paper:

Bridging ethical perspectives: the role of anthropology in the interdisciplinary debate on ethical concerns on research with children and youth

Author:

Francesca Meloni (University College London)

Paper short abstract:

This paper examines the potential contribution of anthropology to recent theoretical and methodological perspectives, developed within different disciplines such as sociology, geography and nursing, on children and youth as moral agents(James and Prout 1990). Interestingly, the specific ethical concerns arising from conducting research with children and youth have scarcely been addressed within the discipline. By drawing on my experience of conducting ethnographic fieldwork with undocumented youth, this paper will argue that the history of anthropology and the ethnographic methods could valuably contribute to the ethical interdisciplinary debate not only adding a layer of complexity to issues of power in research with minors, but also tackling other relevant factors such as their social vulnerability and marginalization.

Paper long abstract:

This paper examines the potential contribution of anthropology to the interdisciplinary theoretical and methodological debate on children and youth as moral agents, so as to say subjects capable of assuming autonomous responsibility for their own actions, and conscious of their moral experiences (James and Prout 1990; Carnevale et al., 2008). Interestingly, even though a large array of ethical questions has been at the center of anthropological discussion since the late 1960s, the specific ethical concerns arising from conducting research with children and youth have scarcely been addressed within the discipline. By drawing on my experience of conducting ethnographic fieldwork with undocumented youth, this paper aims to fill that gap. Building on a review of how other disciplines within the field of social sciences have approached these concerns, I will argue that the history of anthropology and the ethnographic methods could valuably contribute to the ethical interdisciplinary debate not only adding a layer of complexity to issues of power in research with minors, but also tackling other relevant factors such as their social vulnerability and marginalization.

panel G12
Beyond anthropology