New York City is a place rich with subcultures and ripe for anthropological research. From the non-profit organizations and health clinics, to cultural centers and neighborhoods scattered around the boroughs, to the advertising agencies of Madison Avenue and beyond, anthropologists are called on to give insights and share their experiences. Social research can help us understand who we are and how we can best understand each other. Doing ethnography, participating and observing people in their daily lives, is a rewarding and complex process. It connects us to subcultures, people and places that we might otherwise never have access to. It allows us to take the time to consider the thoughts and behaviors of people who may, on the surface, be very different from ourselves.
However, like daily interactions in the City, ethnographic research is rarely without any moments where a pause and consideration is necessary. The dilemmas presented here a simply a window into the types a small ethical decisions that need to be made everyday while conducting anthropological research in the field. Not every ethnographer would reach the same conclusions as these researchers did. Explore the possibilities and read about how our core anthropological values factored into their decisions. Feel free to disagree! Every dilemma has a comment thread where you can tell us, and everyone else, what you think.