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 doing so, sever links that might hamper my ability to work in the country. But maybe this doesn’t feel like it was quite the right ethical decision?
By denouncing this event that is so important to the members of the community, I do not value their right to autonomy and self-determination. I violate their trust and demonstrate a disrespect for their goals and values, which they have shared with me so openly.
I do not show a commitment to reciprocity with your informants and I violate my own acts of self-determination by speaking out against something that I believe is academically and morally sound.
Speaking out against the event, and indigenous land rights in general, as an anthropologist would benefit those groups and individuals that oppose land rights. I do know and respect some of these people so providing them with the benefits of my opinion being in public may position them to launch a better opposition to this issue.
My speaking out, however, could potentially cause harm to my key informants and friends in the village. As an anthropologist, I am aware that my words carry weight in the community and they would certainly be taken as a betrayal. Not receiving land rights could potentially cause them much harm, leading to a depletion of land as it is sold to outsiders.
By speaking out in this way, I cause harm to the other researchers on my project and in the area in general. The vulnerable community where I work, and others like it, would likely be distrustful and suspicious of ethnographic researchers after my surprise decision.
If the judge did return a verdict in favor of the communities, speaking out against it violates the principles of justice in both a literal sense, as well as violating it in terms of my understanding of how allowing indigenous groups to manage their own land is just.
Well, you might have guessed that I didn’t choose this option. The violation of the trust and expectations of the community members, as well as the lack of reciprocity, equaled too much potential harm to both my informants and the research project. In the interest of the greatest beneficence for the most vulnerable players, this option was quickly rejected.
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 ...
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 ...
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? ...
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 ...