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The Problem of Ethical Integrity in Participant Observation

I. C. Jarvie
Current Anthropology
Vol. 10, No. 5 (Dec., 1969), pp. 505-508
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2740620
Page Count: 4
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The Problem of Ethical Integrity in Participant Observation
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Abstract

Participant observation precipitates role-clashes: stranger/friend, participant/observer. Ultimately, the stranger, the observer, role overrides. This solution not only preserves the anthropologist's integrity, but also actually advances his work; it is his lack of a fixed and defined role, or his shifting about among the various roles, that enables him to get at information which would otherwise be inaccessible. The offical philosophy of fieldwork should therefore not be relativism, but honesty and truthfulness about, and iterms of, one's own society.

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