Don’t attend the rally but express support for those who are going

Not attending the rally keeps the illusion of neutrality in one sense, even if I am honest and supportive with the community members that I’m working with. I run the risk of causing offense by declining the invitation to participate, but I am able to maintain my ‘outsider’ position as a researcher by not publicly showing close ties with this ‘hot topic.’ By creating this illusion, however, am I violating my own personal ethics, as well as those of being a transparent researcher?

What about the values at risk here?

Respect for Persons
Beneficence
Justice
My Decision
Respect for persons:

Choosing to communicate my support to the community members, I am able to respect their expression of autonomy and free will in their participation in the land rights events, even if my public support is absent. I am able to explain to them why I am unable to attend and outline other ways that I might be able to help in the cause, should they wish to take them up.

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Beneficence:
In one sense, it may be more beneficial to the community if they received my public support for their cause. As a researcher, I would lend public credibility if I attended the event.

In another sense, however, I may be of more long-term benefit to the community if I am able to maintain a sense of neutrality to a certain extent. I may be able to make more subtle positive changes to the existing system if I am able to continue to interact with government officials and other bodies that may not be actively pro-land rights.

This choice allows me to maintain my personal and professional relationships with all my research subjects without causing harm to any of them, benefiting the research project in the long-term.

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Justice:
This option is just in that it allows me to be truthful with and, ultimately, support my informants. It is unjust, however, in the sense that my informants deserve and have earned my public support.

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My Decision:
Yes- this is the option that I chose. It was difficult but, weighing the pros and cons, it seemed more ethical for me to maintain some distance from this politically charged event so I might be more effective in my subtle advocacy for indigenous land rights in the future. Guided primarily by the value of beneficence, this option provided most potential benefit without any notable harm to my informants. I did miss a good party, though!

What would you do?

Attend the rally

By choosing to attend the rally, I stand firmly in solidarity with my friends and informants for a cause that I believe to be just. My presence makes me an advocate for indigenous land rights and this is a position that I am very comfortable with. But have ...

Defend this Choice!

Don’t attend the rally but express support for those who are going

Not attending the rally keeps the illusion of neutrality in one sense, even if I am honest and supportive with the community members that I’m working with. I run the risk of causing offense by declining the invitation to participate, but I am able to maintain my ‘outsider’ position ...

Defend this Choice!

Don’t attend the rally and express no opinion about it

By staying out of the event and remaining silent, I don’t need to worry about my views in being in the public eye. I can continue with my research without the possibility of being tagged as an activist. However, is my inaction really as inactive as I think? ...

Defend this Choice!

Publicly denounce the rally

By going on record and saying I don’t think this gathering is a good idea, I firmly place myself on one side of the debate. I surprise my friends who thought I shared their goal of promoting traditional land tenure but I effectively distance myself from activists and, in ...

Defend this Choice!

Posted in Fight for Rights in Sight

What do you think?

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