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Practice and Ethics

The Coming Age of Anthropological Practice and Ethics

In a Spring 2014 article in the Journal of Business Anthropology, practicing anthropologists Tracy Meerwarth Pester and Elizabeth K. Briody, a past NAPA President, presented issues and outlined solutions toward bringing practitioner and academic anthropologists closer in drawing up a relevant set of ethics for the discipline as a whole.

The text of that article is available here (PDF format).

Along with the journal piece, Meerwarth Pester and Briody created an associated post for the AAA Ethics Blog, published on February 2, 2015. The post reflects their perspectives on the AAA Code of Ethics and how it was and was not reflected in their worklife experience. That posting is found at http://ethics.aaanet.org/do-some-good-and-other-lessons-from-practice-for-a-new-aaa-code-of-ethics/.

NAPA would like to encourage all anthropologists to review these two pieces. We also invite a dialogue on the forum below for those interested in contributing to the discussion of this issue, perhaps the most critical issue anthropologists of all backgrounds will face as the discipline moves forward into a more applied future.

The authors at workSteve with Eliz and Tracy


2 Responses to Practice and Ethics

  • Chris Francis says:

    The Briody and Pester article sums up the division between research anthropology and applied anthropology, while focusing on the AAA code of ethics. Briody and Pester call for amended ethical codes, which foster notions of helping rather then simply not hurting the populations we work with. Like I mention previously, if a recent MD graduate was faced with academic ridicule for wanting to practice medicine it would be absurd. Research anthropology does provide absolutely necessary information via studies, but how much good does a study do if it only stays within the realm of academia? the vast majority of the population has no idea about what anthropologist do and how they can contribute, further anthropology as a whole needs to recognize that research and research findings exist in a world that a vast majority of the population do not have access to. Anthropological findings which can have immediate impacts on peoples lives need to be broadcasted and applied anthropologist can be the conduit for such information. Applied anthropologists like Briody can play key roles in corporate and public settings by applying knowledge and mediating between populations and not just ethnic or demographic populations, but rather populations that shape the dynamics of employment, such as workers vs. upper management.

    • Elmer Malibiran says:

      I completely agree. Applied anthropology and evidence-based practice culled from research produced by research anthropology will benefit not only the anthropology profession but also the people we promise not to do harm. It has also the potential to close the gap that this apparent divide among anthropologists has produced.

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