Anthropological Ethics

AAA is committed to helping all anthropologists have access to quality information regarding methodological and ethical best practices. The Association’s Principles of Professional Responsibility include:

  1. Do No Harm
  2. Be Open and Honest Regarding Your Work
  3. Obtain Informed Consent and Necessary Permissions
  4. Weigh Competing Ethical Obligations Due Collaborators and Affected Parties
  5. Make Your Results Accessible
  6. Protect and Preserve Your Records
  7. Maintain Respectful and Ethical Professional Relationships

Each of these principles is more fully defined in the full AAA Statement On Ethics. The Association has also established a Policy on Sexual Harassment and Sexual Assault.

The Anthropology Advocacy Council (AAC) regularly updates the AAA Ethics Forum, which contains discussions and case studies of use to the discipline. Contributions are always welcome for consideration.

Have an ethical conundrum that could use insight from a group of AAA Ethics scholars? The AAA Ethics Advisory Group consists of Association members who have served AAA in leadership roles related to ethics. The group responds to queries submitted via moc.liamg@kcabdeeFscihtEAAA. Note that the Ethics Advisory Group is not an adjudicating body.

In dealing with ethical dilemmas, anthropology students, researchers and practitioners may find the following resources useful:

AAA Code of Ethics

Annual Meeting Code of Conduct

As a reminder, the AAA Principles of Professional Responsibility require all anthropologists to Maintain Respectful and Ethical Professional Relationships, and to ‘comport themselves in ways that promote an equitable, supportive and sustainable workplace environment.’ In the case of an Annual Meeting, this means creating and maintaining a harassment-free environment for all participants in the Association’s activities, regardless of their actual or perceived sex, gender, gender expression, gender identity, sexual orientation, marital status, race, ethnicity, nationality, ability, socioeconomic status, veteran status, age, or religion. The AAA is dedicated in providing a conference experience for everyone and will not tolerate harassment, discrimination, or defamatory, abusive, profane, threatening, offensive, or illegal conduct.

All members and participants, including employees, exhibitors, contractors, vendors, volunteers, and guests, are expected to comply with this Code of Conduct for AAA events. Registration and attendance at AAA meetings, either in person or virtually, constitutes an agreement by the registrant to demonstrate respect and consideration for all people; communicate openly and thoughtfully with others; be respectful in discussing and debating ideas; be collaborative; be mindful of your surroundings; comply with venue regulations; report conduct concerns so that they can be addressed responsibly in a timely fashion.

Teaching Ethics

Other AAA groups that are currently addressing anthropological ethics

Other anthropological and social science associations that have established ethics codes or statements

Other online ethics resources, including free modules for Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) training