In most cases, anthropologists are concerned with ethical issues because they deal with people especially while carrying out research. Although anthropologists have their own principles, they are grateful to many people who look up to them. Based on higher expectations from various quotes, anthropologists often have no otherwise, but to be more disciplined to avoid offending their sponsors, the government, the public and even themselves. Such measure is meant to ensure that they not only protect people’s dignity, safety and privacy of their clients, but also colleagues at work and those being studied. This includes respecting the rights of the people and the wish of person whom they are getting information from by not disclosing their identity when requested.
Anthropologists should also explain to the informants what they are doing and avoid taking advantage of them and give the research feedback to the informants. Participants in anthropological research should have the knowledge of how the whole process of research is taking place. They should understand the advantages and the disadvantages of their participation and they should also know the consequences of the same research. Nanda and Warms asserts that “Informed consent is a critical aspect of anthropological ethics” (62). This implies that, participants can either choose to be involved in the research or refuse to offer the required information.
It is upon the anthropologists to gain the trust of the communities or people who they are working with. Their discipline will affect people either positively or negatively according to their behavior in the future. As such, they should avoid going against the principles by not getting involved in politics, military and governments which can easily jeopardize their lives and other peoples’ too. In addition before anthropologists publish their work, they are obliged to look at other researcher’s findings to ensure that their research is of high quality and legal. Similarly, anthropologists should be aware it is very important to protect the privacy of the communities they are working for. For instance, if the people they are working with request to remain anonymous, then their residence should also not be disclosed. This too has a disadvantage to the scientists because it will hinder them from determining whether it is legally acceptable or not.
The work of anthropology should not be mixed with other businesses or the public in general because it has it is boundaries. It is argued that, anthropology in military helps the soldiers to be successful and have constructive thinking and actions. However, research has stated that it is not logical for the military to join anthropology because it encourages them to over rule and dominate other population. Another argument is that, the anthropologists in military and universities undergo the same problems and have different ways of handling the problems. Theoretically, it is said that in universities, the anthropologists desire to have the knowledge for their own benefit while those in military are in search of knowledge for triumph, to protect them and also to be able to defend themselves from enemies. Therefore, it is very unethical for anthropologists to be involved in military displays.
The use of Typical Methods in Cultural Anthropology
Anthropologists have varied surroundings and working conditions. For a very long time, anthropologists have been using fieldwork for research work and training. They used such method to collect data from different locations. However, fieldwork has become their part and parcel because it seems to be the fundamental aspect in their career due to continued usage. Fieldwork uses different variety of techniques for collecting data such as photography and filming, interviewing, census data collection, recording and many others. Data can also be collected by participant observation technique which is the main method of data collection in fieldwork. This method requires a close relation with the people to allow ease observing of their behavior. This can be done by living with the people and experiencing what they are going through in their daily lives. This will enable anthropologists understand their culture and also communicate and reason together with them. Through observation, anthropologists are able to take part in community role, way of life, and integrate easily in the participants’ culture. Often, observation offers anthropologists
Some drawbacks of participatory observation include inability of anthropologists to give accurate results of a particular culture because a small number of people (fifty) they are allowed to work with. On the other hand, fieldwork generally has demerits. For instance, the research might cost the anthropologists to dig deeper into their pockets incase of extended stay to the distant research locations. Normally, fieldwork has sponsors who fund anthropologists’ expenses. Such sponsors may be non-profit organizations, universities and government agencies.
In most cases, anthropologists have assumed that the field is the most secure place to be because they anticipated making friendship, interacting, learning, people’s cultures and living the way the participants’ lifestyle. However, this is not precisely true for the “ethnography of violent places” because of different backgrounds of people and cultures (Nanda, and Warms 65). Some communities are hostile while some are sociable in this case anthropologists have worked in various conditions of both stability and instability, and also in peaceful and violent environments. Research shows that a society cannot be ruined by violence, but it is the result of the characteristic of culture which includes aspects such as social relationship and other activities. Anthropologists must be able to take measures in order to protect themselves and their informants. This agrees with Nanda and Warms assertion that “anthropologists must do everything in their power to protect the physical, social and psychological welfare…of those mentioned”.