Field Notes: Ethics

As the first writer in this round of discussion on ethics, Hayder Al-Mohammad, has noted in a recent article in Ethos: “During the last decade or so, there has been a strong move within the discipline to make much more prominent issues relating to ethics and morality, both in terms of thinking of anthropologist’s ethical obligations to their research participants (Scheper-Hughes 1995; Battaglia 1999; Fluehr-Lobban 2002; Pels & Meskell 2005; Castañeda 2006) and also of anthropology’s concerns with ethicality, as such, in the social world (Laidlaw 2002; Lakoff & Collier 2004; Biehl 2005; Carrithers 2005; Robbins 2007; Evens 2008)” (426).

During this round of discussion we have invited four scholars to think through the implications of this “ethical turn” and explore the paths ethics as a subject of inquiry has taken them in their research. How does a concern with ethics articulate with reconsiderations of epistemology and ontology? How do ethics become socially effective? How do we think an ethics which escapes the trap of “liberal empathy” as Elizabeth Povinelli has put it recently (2011:4)? Writers for this round of discussion are as follows:

Provocation: Hayder Al-Mohammad (University of Southampton)

Translation: P. Joshua Griffin (University of Washington, Seattle)

Deviation: Peter Benson (Washington University in Saint Louis)

Integration: Clara Han (Johns Hopkins University)

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Image by Pink Sherbet

Posts in This Series

Ethics: Integration

Ethics: Deviation

Ethics: Translation

Ethics: Provocation