In his article TEN LIES OF ETHNOGRAPHY : Moral Dilemmas of Field Research (published in the Journal of Contemporary Ethnography 1993 22: 267), Gary Alan Fine discusses the dilemmas faced by ethnographic researchers. He singles out the “classic virtues” (the kindly ethnographer, the friendly ethnographer, the honest ethnographer), “technical skills” (the precise ethnographer, the observant ethnographer, and the unobtrusive ethnographer), and the different modes of the “ethnographic self” (the candid ethnographer, the chaste ethnographer, the fair ethnographer, and the literary ethnographer).
After reading it, you might at first agree with Urie Bronfenbrenner (1952, 453) that ‘[t]he only safe way to avoid violating principles of professional ethics is to refrain from doing social research altogether’. However, the article concludes on an optimistic note which I shall not reveal: it is well worth reading first hand.
Categories: The Idle Ethnographer