Chapter 3: Cases and Solutions

by Sue-Ellen Jacobs

The first 12 cases are presented in a format that asks the reader to solve each dilemma. The solutions used by the anthropologists will follow. Some readers disagreed with the "solution" presented by given fieldworkers. Their comments are also included.

During the time that Sue-Ellen Jacobs was editing the "Ethical Dilemmas" column in the Anthropology Newsletter, a number of people wrote to her (and some called her) regarding specific problems they had encountered that raised general ethical issues. Each issue was officially addressed by the American Anthropological Association, through the Principles of Professional Responsibility or by resolutions passed by the Association during the preceding 15 years. Nevertheless, it appeared that it was often difficult for individuals to readily resolve problems in the field or in other circumstances that involved colleagues. Cases 10, 11, and 12 deal with problems between anthropologists; as such, they represent classic ethical issues faced by anthropologists during the past 50 years.

The cases in Chapter 4 raise questions concerning possible courses of behavior. Comments by anthropologists and ethicists recruited by Joan Cassell for publication in Anthropology Newsletter follow each case.

The names of the anthropologists in each dilemma have been changed and identifying details have been altered or omitted.