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Ethical Considerations and Anthropology: the MSF Experience


Stringer, B and Teernstra, R and Stellmach, D and Venables, E, Ethical Considerations and Anthropology: the MSF Experience, Medecins Sans Frontieres and Humanitarian Situations, Routledge, J-F Veran, D Burtscher, and B Stringer (ed), United Kingdom, pp. 61-76. ISBN 9780367817244 (2020) [Research Book Chapter]


This chapter outlines four ethical deliberations pertinent to the practice of social science with a focus on anthropology in humanitarian settings. The first looks at the persistent problem of how anthropology is framed within the historical, biomedical foundation and the methodological challenges therein. Second, we elaborate on who benefits from anthropological endeavours in times of acute crisis, epidemic or mass displacement, and why ethical considerations should be different in these situations. Third, we share descriptions of how ethics are navigated by social scientists within Médecins Sans Frontières, giving examples of the delicate negotiations required to manage the research. Finally, we discuss a way forward to emphasise a ‘bottom up’ framing of ethical challenges for anthropologists working in humanitarian settings.

Item Details

Item Type:Research Book Chapter
Keywords:disaster and emergency response, anthropological methods, research ethics in emergencies
Research Division:Human Society
Research Group:Development studies
Research Field:Humanitarian disasters, conflict and peacebuilding
Objective Division:Health
Objective Group:Public health (excl. specific population health)
Objective Field:Health protection and disaster response
UTAS Author:Stellmach, D (Dr Darryl Stellmach)
ID Code:154606
Year Published:2020
Deposited By:Policing and Emergency Management
Deposited On:2022-12-14
Last Modified:2022-12-15

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