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Engaging With Research Ethics Through Feminist Lenses: Methods, Experiences and Writing (Co-Organised With the Gender Program)


4-5 juin 2021


Dr. Nolwenn Bühler, UNINE Prof. Anne Lavanchy, HES-SO Genèv


Dr. Nadja Eggert, UNIL

Dr. Holly Porter, University of Cambridge, UK


The second half of the twentieth century was marked by the development and growing institutionalization of research ethics. This trend can be tracked back to scandals in biomedicine especially, which have contributed to the formulation of (bio)ethical principles of research. These are nowadays considered a basic requirement of any research involving human beings. They raise specific issues for social sciences, and especially for disciplines and/or fields dealing with power relationships as well as with iterative and inductive approaches, as do anthropology and gender studies. Anthropologists have responded to the formalization of ethical concerns by insisting on the importance of the political, processual, relational, and situated dimensions of ethics, rather than through the development of abstract and rigid principles. Scholars in gender studies have shed light on the politics of research ethics by broadening the scope of its understanding and turning the gaze to the gender implications of its key notions and forms of moral reasoning. Both researchers in anthropology and gender studies have critically analyzed processes of exclusion and invisibilization of the lives and experiences of women, and of further subaltern groups in terms of race and class, reflecting on political definitions of what is "good research". They questioned the notions of rights, consent, and rational individuals, which are central in the institutionalized version of research ethics, highlighting the problematic assumptions of science as objective, and of the lack of consideration for situated and relational dimensions of knowledge production. Feminist ethics insist rather on the deep interdependence of research participants and researchers alike and on the situated and contingent aspects of their ethical navigations. Diverse in their positionings, feminist ethics put to the forefront notions of care (de la Bellacasa 2011; Tronto 1993), reproductive justice (Luna and Luker 2013), and bodies and emotions as political sites (Ahmed 2010). These critics are useful to reflect on the ethics of biomedical research (for ex. Prainsack 2018), for instance, as well as on the knowledge production in anthropology, where ethical reflections with gender implications take place at all stages of research. From the choice of a subject of inquiry, of methods, and research design, to the publication of writing, including all the practices, experiences and multiple encounters, ethics are at the core of doing research. The module aims at providing tools to support participants facing ethical and deontological dilemmas in the context of their research through the lenses of feminist ethics.





Deadline for registration 06.05.2021
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