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Data management in anthropology: the next phase in ethics governance?

Pels, Peter; Boog, Igor; Henrike Florusbosch, J.; Kripe, Zane; Minter, Tessa; Postma, Metje; Sleeboom-Faulkner, Margaret; Simpson, Bob; Dilger, Hansjörg; Schönhuth, Michael; von Poser, Anita; Castillo, Rosa Cordillera A.; Lederman, Rena; Richards-Rissetto, Heather

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Peter Pels

Igor Boog

J. Henrike Florusbosch

Zane Kripe

Tessa Minter

Metje Postma

Margaret Sleeboom-Faulkner

Hansjörg Dilger

Michael Schönhuth

Anita von Poser

Rosa Cordillera A. Castillo

Rena Lederman

Heather Richards-Rissetto


Recent demands for accountability in ‘data management’ by funding agencies, universities, international journals and other academic institutions have worried many anthropologists and ethnographers. While their demands for transparency and integrity in opening up data for scrutiny seem to enhance scientific integrity, such principles do not always consider the way the social relationships of research are properly maintained. As a springboard, the present Forum, triggered by such recent demands to account for the use of ‘data’, discusses the present state of anthropological research and academic ethics/integrity in a broader perspective. It specifically gives voice to our disciplinary concerns and leads to a principled statement that clarifies a particularly ethnographic position. This position is then discussed by several commentators who treat its viability and necessity against the background of wider developments in anthropology – sustaining the original insight that in ethnography, research materials have been co‐produced before they become commoditised into ‘data’. Finally, in moving beyond such a position, the Forum broadens the issue to the point where other methodologies and forms of ownership of research materials will also need consideration.


Pels, P., Boog, I., Henrike Florusbosch, J., Kripe, Z., Minter, T., Postma, M., …Richards-Rissetto, H. (2018). Data management in anthropology: the next phase in ethics governance?. Social Anthropology, 26(3), 391-413.

Journal Article Type Article
Online Publication Date Jul 4, 2018
Publication Date Aug 1, 2018
Deposit Date Aug 23, 2018
Publicly Available Date Aug 23, 2018
Journal Social Anthropology
Print ISSN 0964-0282
Electronic ISSN 1469-8676
Publisher Berghahn Journals
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 26
Issue 3
Pages 391-413
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Copyright Statement
© 2018 The Authors. Social Anthropology published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of European Association of Social Anthropologists. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution‐NonCommercial‐NoDerivs License, which permits use and distribution in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, the use is non‐commercial and no modifications or adaptations are made.

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