Navigating Research Permit Rules in Ethnobiology Ethics

Date and Time: 
Thursday, 17 March, 2016 - 13:45
, Cissy - Wofford College

Ethnobiologists are highly conscientious about the ethics of their research and strongly interested in respecting the rights of their human and nonhuman collaborators.  Ethnobiologists are compelled to comply with laws governing human subjects research, and must answer to their own institutions, the governments who have jurisdiction over their field sites, the publishers who publish their research, and the professional societies to which they belong.  Rightly so.  Or, rightly so?  My experiences in Indonesia provoke ethical dilemma about research permits as I attempt to navigate between ethnobiology’s ethics and a postcolonial government.  Is the requirement to obtain research permits a closed-and-shut, black-and-white policy, or are conscientious objections ever ‘right’?  What ethics ought to govern research permit requirements?  Whose interests do federal permits serve?  Are federal research permits always just to ethnobiology’s collaborators and is obtaining them always justifiable?  When and where ought ethnobiologists comply with research permit requirements?