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(L08) Ethics in hunter-gatherer studies 

Convenors: Tessa Minter, Leiden Institute of Cultural Anthropology and Development Sociology; Gerard Persoon, Leiden Institute of Cultural Anthropology and Development Sociology

Discussant: Gerard Persoon, Leiden Institute of Cultural Anthropology and Development Sociology

Abstract: This interactive session brings together experiences on the implementation of ethics requirements in research that involves hunter-gatherers, with the aim of a) understanding shared challenges in relation to the increasingly top-down enforcement of such procedures; and b) identification of opportunities to improve our practices.

Keywords: ethics, methodology, benefit sharing, FPIC, representation

Format: presentations and discussions

Precirculated materials: to be decided


Ethical considerations are part and parcel of every research endeavour, including hunter-gatherer studies. Increasingly, the moral obligation to take ethics seriously also becomes an official requirement that we have to meet in our dealings with research donors, university boards and national and local permit granting authorities. However, meeting such requirements in ways that are both appropriate in the context in which we do our research and satisfactory to the ever more bureaucratic and top-down requirements gives rise to new challenges, dilemmas and risks.

In this interactive session we aim to bring together first-hand experiences on the implementation of research ethics procedures from multiple disciplines (e.g. cultural-, social-, biological anthropology, genetics, archaeology) with the objective of understanding our shared challenges and identification of opportunities to improve our practices. We also wish to explore to what extent research among hunter-gatherers gives rise to specific ethical considerations, for instance with respect to Free Prior and Informed Consent procedures and benefit sharing.

We invite abstracts for presentations on the ethics procedures followed in any of your research projects involving hunter-gatherers. Please feel free to share with us both the strengths as well as the weaknesses in your approach and the dilemmas that you have faced/are facing. We also encourage you to include reflections on the feasibility of local, national and/or international ethics procedures that you are either following on a voluntary basis or that you are required to adhere to. We especially welcome presentations and contributions to the discussion from indigenous scholars.

Based on these presentations, we will devote the second part of the session to a constructive discussion among presenters and the audience on how we can develop meaningful ethics procedures that are beneficial to our relationships with our research participants, while navigating the top-down enforcement of ethics procedures.



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