Subject: Others
Language: English (U.S.)
Pages: 1
You are a cultural anthropologist who has been looking for a research position for six months, and your finances are stretched to the breaking point. To your surprise, you are contacted by a major network TV company for a funded opportunity to document the “untouched tribes” of Brazil. With the approval of the Brazilian government already established, do you make contact with a group of peoples who have not had interaction with much (if any) of the Western world in order to be published and receive a substantial paycheck? Do you deny the opportunity altogether knowing that someone else will likely fill your position? Do you accept in hopes that you will make contact as sensitively as possible, not trusting someone else to do it? Is it even your place to protect the cultural environment of people you do not know?

Ethical Dilemmas in Research

As a cultural anthropologist, I would not pass on the chance to make contact with the ‘untouched tribes’ of Brazil. However, I would ensure that the methods I use to make contact as well as the contact itself are guided by ethical considerations. The purpose of conducting the research will not be based on the amount of money I am being paid by the major network TV company. Rather, my research will be a learning process or something similar to a learning exchange program. I will not go into the field with the aim of commercially exploiting these individuals. If I conclude that some of my actions might result in the commercialization of the tribes or encroachment on to their lands, I shall desist from pursuing such actions.

The purpose of my research is to learn about these ‘untouched tribes’ and how they have been able to remain hidden for so long. This is despite the globalization of nearly everything on the face of the earth. I seek to understand their beliefs, and their way of life and see how different they truly are from the rest of the civilization. I am sure there is so much that the rest of the world can learn from these ‘untouched tribes’ such as the importance of family in maintaining a cohesive society. My documentary can also ensure that they receive some health provisions if I find that they can benefit from modern medicine.  

It is my duty as a cultural anthropologist to protect the cultural environment of these individuals. This can be achieved by raising awareness about their existence and their need of protection from extinction due to man-made or natural disasters as well as protection from exploitation by local and international businesses.

The IRB can help ensure that my research meets global ethical standards. The Institutional Review Board is a committee based in the United States that protects the welfare and the rights of any humans who are subjects in a research study. The IRB will ensure that the rights of these ‘untouched tribes’ as well as their heritages are not infringed upon due to the documentary now and in the future. The committee will guarantee the rights of the tribesmen because the research will have to adhere to strict IRB codes of ethic.