Ethics & Anthropology

read the “Miscellaneous Topics” at the end of Chapter 9 of Cultural Anthropology. Then, address the following


As noted, anthropology’s work with the military over the years has been wrought with controversy. Where do you
stand on the issue regarding the use of anthropologists in intelligence gathering for the military? Can you come
up with a compelling argument based on examples given in the text, your understanding of the ethical
requirements of anthropologist, and from your own experiences /understanding of past and present military
actions to take a stance on this issue? Please use concepts and terminology from the text.


Anthropological researchers, teachers and practitioners are members of many different communities, each with its
own moral rules or codes of ethics. Anthropologists have moral obligations as members of other groups, such as
the family, religion, and community, as well as the profession. They also have obligations to the scholarly
discipline, to the wider society and culture, and to the human species, other species, and the environment.
Furthermore, fieldworkers may develop close relationships with persons or animals with whom they work,
generating an additional level of ethical considerations.

In a field of such complex involvements and obligations, it is inevitable that misunderstandings, conflicts, and
the need to make choices among apparently incompatible values will arise. Anthropologists are responsible for
grappling with such difficulties and struggling to resolve them in ways compatible with the principles stated
here. The purpose of this Code is to foster discussion and education. The American Anthropological Association
(AAA) does not adjudicate claims for unethical behavior.