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 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?

What about the values at risk here?

Respect for Persons
Beneficence
Justice
My Decision
Respect for persons:

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.

Go to Top
Beneficence:
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.

Go to Top
Justice:
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.

Go to Top
My Decision:
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.

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?

A Thatch for Santa Cruz Fundraiser

Olimometer 2.52

Please consider donating, even just a few dollars, to support the ability of small village leaders to manage their own resources and benefit from tourist funds.

Featured Content

Shifting Stereotypes
a fully immersive exhibition seeking to confront the prejudice associated with stereotyping

Reconsider Dissemination:
The Road of Development

a multi-media installation offering a unique and creative opportunity for scholars and artists to translate the various stages on the road of development

Ask a (cool) Anthropologist
y/our questions about anything, thoroughly researched and translated by our (cool) anthropological rockstars

Ethical Dilemmas
tied up (for brief moments) in a series of ethical dilemmas in various places all around the world

Friday Photos
a (mostly) weekly Photo Series showcasing a (cool) anthropologist's perspective, either from the field or their interpersonal world

Cool Anthropology Newsletter

We send our ideas, research, events and the intriguing things we find around the (inter)world straight to your inbox.