What is it about?

Anthropologists have a dilemma - their field notes, photos and records are immensely precious to them, and often to those they have worked with. Yet that very importance makes them hard to share - they sometimes contain delicate and sensitive material that should not, can not be shared with just anyone. But the descendants of the people concerned would be horrified if we simply destroyed this material in case it contains sensitive things. Perhaps the answer is to wait a very long time before sharing?

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Why is it important?

Anthropologists are being bullied by ethical frameworks designed by those in other subjects areas and using personal data frameworks such as GDPR - which actually have exemptions for research - to restrict research or force the results to be destroyed.


This paper was first presented at a workshop in Paris. It is published in French and English.

Professor David Zeitlyn
University of Oxford

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This page is a summary of: Archiving ethnography? The impossibility and the necessity, Ateliers d anthropologie, March 2022, OpenEdition, DOI: 10.4000/ateliers.16318.
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