Is ethnography unethical

Hansjörg Dilger 14 Ethics and reflexivity in field research 14.1 Introduction * In every ethnological field research there are situations in which questions about the “right” or “good” behavior of researchers arise. I would like to introduce this using the example of two of my own field research situations in Tanzania, each of which gave rise to specific ethical challenges: The first example relates to my research in a primary school in Dar es Salaam (2009-10). This was established by the pastor of a large Pentecostal church in the mid-1990s and is still in great demand among the urban middle class due to its promise of academic success and “moral education”. During the research process, inter alia found that there were problematic working conditions at the school, in that teachers were not given employment contracts and were not allowed to organize themselves without risking dismissal. The following questions were posed to me: Should I write about these problematic findings in my research and thereby possibly harm the pastor, who had given me access to the everyday life of her school in a very accommodating manner? Wouldn't I also endanger the teachers themselves with such a publication, who in some cases strongly criticized these conditions, but who said they were already under great pressure anyway? Should I not mention the name of the school in later publications in order not to focus exclusively on this institution? After all, it was not the only school in the country that had similar problems in the context of neoliberal structural reforms. The second example comes from my field research on dealing with illnesses and dying from HIV / AIDS in the context of rural-urban migration in Tanzania (1999–2000). In rural areas in particular, I was confronted with situations in which I became aware of a possible infection of third parties by people infected with HIV; Here the question of my own ethical responsibility arose in a special way. One case concerned a young woman who had tested positive for HIV in the hospital after repeated illnesses. While the health staff had informed parts of her family about the result, the diagnosis of the young woman herself was concealed from the concern that she would be too emotionally 'burdened'. After the woman became pregnant and gave birth to a - at least outwardly - healthy child, she asked me for support: She wanted to have an HIV test in the local hospital, which the counselor in charge allegedly refused to give her. It was obvious that if I took such a step I would act against the wishes of her family, who had explicitly told me that their loved one should not find out about their HIV infection. But I asked myself: Wouldn't the woman be able to prevent a possible HIV infection of her child by knowing her diagnosis if she were to wean it off promptly? Couldn't the knowledge of her HIV infection also be an emotional relief, since she was in the dark about the reason for her persistent illnesses until then? All these questions represent only a small excerpt from the ethical considerations that I made in the outlined field research situations and that are at the same time relevant for ethical discussions in ethnology as a whole. In the following, I will first introduce the formal framework conditions that are important for ethically responsible research in anthropology: These include the positioning and - with regard to compliance with largely voluntary - requirements of professional associations. At the same time, other legally binding regulations in scientific practice (e.g. on research data management) and the increasing institutionalization of procedures for ethics assessment are relevant (Section 14.2). In a next step, I then explain how such formal and ethical framework conditions, but also content-related specialist discussions in ethnology (e.g. on positionality and post-colonial approaches) shape action in the research process itself: I will show that students too of ethnology, which are based on the ethics declarations of their professional associations or institutions and other formal requirements, are in gray areas that always require individual-situational ethical considerations. I will deepen this point with a view to the examples introduced above and explain which decisions I made in these situations (Section 14.3). In conclusion, I will explain the implications of these various insights for the value of continuous reflection on conditions and options for action in ethnological work: “Continuous reflexivity” understood in this way represents a fundamental ethical value in ethnology as an “understanding” science relates to all aspects and phases of ethnological-ethnographic work (Section 14.4). The chapter is rounded off with recommendations for further literature (Section 14.5). Ethics and Reflexivity in Field Research 285 14.2 The Formalization of Ethical Debates in Ethnology “Anthropologists in the postcolonial, postmodern and post-9/11 world can expect 'the field' to be a far more complicated prospect than it has been for previous generations. The assumption, from another era, that anthropological researchers can go anywhere and do anything is simply no longer operative ”(Fluehr-Lobban 2013: 157). The quotation given here by the American anthropologist Carolyn Fluehr-Lobban makes it clear that ethical questions, at least in large parts of English-language ethnology, have received a lot of attention in recent decades. These discussions are embedded in specific national specialist and scientific cultures and have shaped the content-related positioning of specialist associations with regard to the topic of research ethics as well as the degree of formalization and institutionalization with regard to compliance by the researchers themselves. In the following, I will illustrate these points with an eye on different countries in the English-speaking area, before I go into the situation of German-speaking ethnology. 14.2.1 Ethics and ethnology in English-speaking countries In the USA, the American Anthropological Association (AAA) - following previous versions from 1971 and 1986 - adopted a Code of Ethics in 1998, which was further revised in 2009 and 2012. The background to these comparatively early initiatives was, on the one hand, the involvement of American anthropologists in the Second World War and, on the other hand, the ambivalent role of ethnologists with regard to their "allegedly covert research for American secret services and the military" in the 1960s (Schönhuth 2002: 131 ). The Association of Social Anthropologists of the UK and the Commonwealth (ASA) in turn issued its Ethical Guidelines in 1999, which were updated in 2011. The Australian Anthropological Society (AAS) adopted its first Code of Ethics in 1985, which was revised several times in the following years, most recently in 2012. All three ethics declarations reflect in more detail - but with varying degrees of focus - on the complex responsibilities of ethnologists towards research participants, research sponsors and the public at large. Also the responsibility towards students and young academics in teaching and supervision as well as the question of the accessibility of 286 Hansjörg Dilger knowledge - z. B. via publicly viewable publication formats - are taken into account. The code of the US American AAA emphasizes that it is not an “ironclad formula” (AAA 2009: 1), but rather aims to create a framework for reflection on ethically responsible behavior and possible value conflicts in the research process. The Australian AAS code, in turn, specifically takes into account the situation of marginalized indigenous social groups: It focuses on the protection of the knowledge and intellectual property of these groups under research conditions that can be perceived by indigenous groups themselves as a form of "colonization". While the ethics declarations of their professional associations for ethnologists in English-speaking countries are primarily a professional commitment, anthropologists in the countries mentioned are also confronted with ethics committees in their research institutions and universities, which have a decisive influence on all research with and on people. In the United States, these so-called Institutional Review Boards (IRBs) were given their current form in the early 1980s. This happened on the one hand with reference to the medical experiments of the Nazi era, on the other hand against the background of a study on syphilis in Tuskegee (1932–1972), which the Afro-American study participants - despite the standard treatment with penicillin available from the 1950s - left untreated. As a result of this background, the rigid ethical guidelines of medicine and health sciences were transferred largely unquestioned to social science subjects and their working methods (von Unger, Dilger and Schönhuth 2016). This also applies to the comparable, interdisciplinary institutions in other English-speaking countries, e.g. B. the Research Ethics Committees (RECs) in Great Britain and the Human Research Ethics Committees (HRECs) in Australia. A special feature of ethics committees in Australia, however, is that they require statements from representatives of indigenous communities on submitted research projects - especially when doing research in the country itself - and thus explicitly include their expertise and needs in ethics reviews (Gower 2012: 5). In all of the countries mentioned, not only advanced ethnologists, but also students and doctoral candidates have to obtain approval from ethics committees before they can begin their research. Furthermore, these commissions usually demand that every change to the research design once it has been approved must go through the ethical review process again. This represents a considerable challenge, especially for younger researchers, if they have to or want to adapt or reorient research questions and methods in their research - as is the case with open ethnographic approaches based on ethics and reflexivity in field research. In particular, since research stays are usually limited by clear time-related and financial requirements, a reassessment of the revised ethics application lasting several weeks or even several months can have a significant impact on the course of the research. 14.2.2 Professional associations and research ethics in German-speaking countries In Germany, the German Society for Social and Cultural Anthropology (until 2015 German Society for Ethnology) adopted the “Frankfurt Declaration on Ethics in Ethnology” in 2009. Until then, representatives from the specialist field had been rather reluctant to introduce self-binding ethical standards; early initiatives - i.a. the ethics working group established in the professional association in 1989 (Amborn 1993: 14) - received little support (cf. Schönhuth 2002: 135). In view of this situation, other working groups of the professional association initially formulated their own ethics declarations: For example, the Working Group on Developmental Anthropology - based on a first draft in 1989 - adopted its "Ethical Guidelines" in 1999 (Schönhuth 2002: 135) and revised them in 2013. The Working Group Medical Anthropology issued its “Guidelines for Ethical Self-Reflection” in 2005. From the mid-2000s onwards, the topic of research ethics was increasingly discussed in the larger specialist context and in the professional association, particularly with a view to the role of ethnologists in crisis and war contexts (press department of the German Society for Ethnology 2009). When the professional association passed its declaration of ethics in 2009, it mainly formulated open questions about ethically responsible research in the field. Furthermore, the Frankfurt Declaration is primarily based on the general human rights declaration of the United Nations and emphasizes the responsibility of researchers to “clarify the implications and consequences of their own research practice and research data with regard to local and global power relations” (DGSKA 2009). According to Hornbacher (2013: 7), the Frankfurt Declaration assumes with this approach that the "contradictions of ethnological research, theory and application would [not] have to be eliminated by codified regulations." and cultural anthropology are discussed again, especially with a view to 288 Hansjörg Dilger the more systematic preparation for the ethical challenges of field research. In 2019, the professional association adopted “ethical guidelines”, by means of which researchers at all career levels can and should answer questions about the ethical implications - as well as the security risks - of their upcoming research projects. In some cases, these self-reflective discussions about ethical issues take place in an exchange and dialogue with supervisors or colleagues (DGSKA 2019). In the Swiss Ethnological Society, the Ethics and Deontology working group adopted a statement on research ethics in 2011 (SEG 2011). This statement summarizes the ethical principles of ethnological work in detail, e. B. with a view to the obligation to anonymize or pseudonymize collected data prior to their publication. The statement also sets out the advantages and disadvantages associated with the “informed consent” procedure in ethnology. The advantage of this procedure is that it creates transparency for research participants with regard to the questions, goals, methods and the handling of research data and grants the participants the right to withdraw their consent at any point in time during the research - including retrospectively. Another disadvantage is that informed consent can only respond to unexpected changes in the course of research to a limited extent and carries the risk that "once consent has been given, researchers feel released from their [beyond] ethical responsibility" (ibid .). While in Germany and Switzerland a comparatively elaborate discussion on research ethics has developed at the level of the professional associations, the ethnologists or cultural and social anthropologists in Austria are not united in their own professional association. They therefore refer primarily to the regulations on research ethics in their respective scientific institutions, which, for example, prescribe a compulsory ethics assessment at the Austrian Academy of Sciences and an ethics assessment at the University of Vienna only for ethically particularly sensitive projects. At the same time, these requirements for ethics assessment (cf. 14.2.3) only apply in Austria to advanced researchers who have completed their doctorate and not to BA or MA students. These are therefore based - like students and other representatives of the field in Germany and Switzerland - on declarations of voluntary commitment to ethically responsible research (either by their institutions or internationally). At the same time, however, this does not mean that ethnology students in all three countries are not also exposed to formal legal requirements with regard to the ethical implications of their field research. Some of the institutional developments and issues that are relevant here are discussed in the following section. 14.2.3 Ethics committees, data protection and research data management In German-speaking countries, ethnology students - and in Germany and Switzerland also advanced subject representatives - rarely have to apply for an ethics permit for their field research or fear that their research will be considered 'unethical' if it does not Have undergone the review process of an ethics committee. Nevertheless, large (e.g. European) funding organizations or international specialist journals increasingly expect ethnologists in Germany and Switzerland to provide evidence of a positive ethical assessment - although these expectations rarely affect students. Furthermore, ethnological researchers from all German-speaking countries can e.g. B.in a medical facility or in a country that requires appropriate evidence (see 14.3), are faced with the requirement to submit a certificate that their research project has been subjected to an ethical review. In such cases, ethnologists in German-speaking countries usually turn to the ethics committees of their universities or research institutions - or the responsible ethics committees in their host country - which, however, do not always have the relevant expertise to assess the specific approaches to ethnographic work (Dilger 2017) . In Switzerland, the professional association - the Swiss Ethnological Society - has already issued such an ethical vote in individual cases. But even without having gone through the procedure of an ethics committee, students and advanced scientists in German-speaking countries are subject to further legal-normative requirements that define “good scientific work” as a whole and that often also concern ethical aspects. On the one hand, this concerns recommendations on “research integrity”, in which - sometimes with legal consequences - scientific misconduct such as B. Plagiarism or deception is discussed (World Conference on Research Integrity 2010, Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft 2013). On the other hand, this also applies in particular to national and European regulations on personal rights as well as data protection and the handling of research data. In the following, I will explain this latter aspect using the example of the subjects “depictions of people” (especially with reference to Germany) and “research data management” (German-speaking countries as a whole). 290 Hansjörg Dilger The depiction of people - as well as the use of photos or film material by third parties - is subject in Germany to the “law on copyright in works of the visual arts and photography”. In particular, the depiction of individual persons in scientific publications, works and media appearances is only permitted if they - or, in the case of minors, their parents or legal guardians - have given their written, possibly also verbal, consent. This requirement does not apply to "persons of contemporary history" - a legally flexible term - as well as when persons are not individually identifiable in images (e.g. at public meetings). All of these legal requirements contain many gray areas, and it must be checked in each individual case which criteria and categories are to be applied and how. But even if all legal questions have been positively clarified, ethical questions should generally also be addressed to the images of people in scientific work: What does the image of a person - in a photograph, in a film - say about a certain research topic or argument? What is their concrete 'added value' for understanding a phenomenon in contrast to other possibilities of representation, e.g. B. by means of text analysis or the mapping of the material living conditions of persons (i.e. without the persons themselves) or the like? Can the photographed or filmed people who have given their consent actually estimate the extent to which an image is publicly circulated and what effects this could have? The second aspect concerns “research data management”, which is currently being discussed intensively at universities and research institutions in German-speaking countries as well as by national and international funding organizations (see also the article by Beer and Fischer on the documentation of data in this volume). This is particularly about the backup and archiving of data during and after field research - i.e. field diaries, interview recordings and transcriptions, image or film files. These must first be stored on appropriately protected data media - the so-called "private domain", which is particularly relevant for students - in order to protect them from access by unauthorized third parties. Furthermore, universities and research institutions in which scientists work are in the process of setting up special databases - so-called "repositories" - for the permanent archiving of research data. It is also intended that research data can later be used by other scientists - although this issue of “re-use” is a controversial issue among ethnologists themselves (Imeri 2018). How relevant this last option is for students doing their first field research is questionable. For students who are planning an ethics and reflexivity in field research 291 research, however, it is important to carefully coordinate all these questions with their supervisors in order to be able to use 'their' data - which they collect in close interaction with their research participants (Dilger, Pels and Sleeboom-Faulkner 2019) - to be handled responsibly. 14.3 Ethical action and positionality in field research practice In summary, the previous section has shown that the handling of research ethics in anthropology - especially in Germany and Switzerland - to this day, on the one hand, is due to the relatively late onset, rather little formalization of the ethics discussion within ethnological professional associations is marked. On the other hand, the relationship to research ethical questions in these countries - but also with regard to students of the subject in Austria - is determined by the extensive non-institutionalization of ethical assessment procedures, insofar as students of the subject who are planning field research usually do not have an ethics permit for them Need to obtain projects to begin their research. Against this background, discussions about responsible research, especially among students in the discipline, are primarily oriented towards specialist debates that have shaped the research of ethnologists in the last decades and that challenge the reflexivity of ethnologists in the research process in ever new ways. I outline some of these debates exemplarily in the following section (14.3.1), before I go into some of the topics presented there with a view to the examples from my research in Tanzania introduced above (14.3.2). 14.3.1 Ethics-relevant specialist debates in ethnology One of the debates that are relevant in connection with research ethics in ethnology is the post-colonial theory: This has created an awareness of how - especially ethnological - research in an intertwined world continues to this day be determined by unequal distribution of resources and control over knowledge production along historically established power gaps (cf. Conrad and Randeria 2002). She also made it clear how “subordinate voices” (Castro Varela and Dhawan 2015: 186 ff.) Can become part of specialist discussions in ethnology in a non-patronizing manner and speak for themselves. In this context, the Writing Culture debate of the 1980s is also of great relevance Making positions in an examined group - and their articulation in concrete situations and under specific conditions - visible (Clifford and Marcus 1986). With a view to the ethical positioning of ethnologists in the research process, application-oriented approaches have also formulated various ways for a “committed” and thus “reciprocal science” that is participatory or collaborative. “Applied” ethnology (Klocke-Daffa 2019) today provides numerous options and formats by means of which ethnological research can be incorporated into non-academic contexts. In this context - in addition to ethnological initiatives in development cooperation (Schönhuth 2002) or activist research in migration contexts (Huschke 2015) - the debate about “public science” became relevant (Dilger and Falge 2019). This showed how research results can be made accessible to a broader group of interested parties beyond the subject context and specialized publication locations. In ethnology, publications in blogs, films and other media - especially in the language of those with and with whom research was carried out - can play an important role in the ethical value of “reciprocity” in the research process. Finally, debates about research ethics in ethnology were shaped by discussions about how to deal with “positionality” in the research process, which has a significant impact on how researchers and research participants relate to one another in processes of knowledge production. Feminist approaches in particular have emphasized that intertwined categories of positionality - such as gender, sexual orientation, age, social status, religion, ethno-national affiliation, etc. m. - create mutual attributions and expectations in field situations that have a lasting impact on the encounters implied in them and the knowledge gained from them (cf. Rowe 2014). Examples of such dynamics are internal and external categorizations in field research as "insiders" or "outsiders", which are decisive for how trust can (not) be built between certain people, which power hierarchies determine how we deal with each other in a research situation and which (e.g. political, “neutral” or also individual-emotional) relationship the people involved have to the topics of a research (ibid., cf. also Stodulka, Selim and Mattes 2018). Ethics and reflexivity in field research 293 Taken together, the specialist debates outlined here make it clear that questions about ethical behavior in ethnology are not limited to field research - or the ethically particularly challenging situations it contains. Rather, the discussions presented raise questions about the ethical attitude and positioning in ethnological work as a whole and thus relate to the preparation of field research as well as the evaluation and writing of research materials and the publication of research results. Furthermore, the expert discussions presented made it clear that questions about responsible ethnological work cannot be answered by ethics declarations and ethics codes alone - or the assessment by ethics committees. While the specifications and guidelines of professional associations - as well as of other scientific and funding organizations - provide rules and guidelines for ethical work in anthropology, answers to ethical challenges can usually only be found depending on the individual situation. In the following, I will deepen this aspect with a look at my research examples from Tanzania. 14.3.2 Reciprocity, “Do no harm” and the limits of pseudonymization As I indicated at the beginning of this chapter, my first example relates to my research on religiously oriented educational institutions in urban Tanzania in the years 2009-10, in the context of which I carried out multi-week ethnographic surveys in a total of six different Christian and Muslim schools. All of these schools taught according to the state-secular curriculum and offered additional teaching units in religion or “moral education”. One of these schools - St. Mary’s International Primary School - was part of a nationwide network of educational institutions of various levels that had been set up by the pastor of one of the largest Pentecostal churches in Dar es Salaam since the mid-1990s. This pastor also had a strong social influence in the country, not least because of her repeated appointments as Special Seats Member of Parliament since 2007. Since St. Mary's International Primary School - and the religious and social context in which it was established - was so unique, I was happy that the pastor (as the school owner) gave me permission to do research in two of her schools for several weeks. For the pupils and teachers in particular, my research meant no inconsiderable effort, as they were confronted with my presence in all-day school lessons and had to integrate my wishes for discussions and interviews into their already tight time and schedule. There was also uncertainty among teachers at the beginning of my research about the nature of “ethnographic” practices and the “participant observation” method that some of them associated with regular school inspections by government agencies. It was only after I had presented my research questions and methods at a meeting and answered the relevant questions that the teachers opened up to participate in my research. However, it quickly became apparent that the school - which depended on comparatively high school fees and the demand of the increasingly stratified education market - sometimes had problematic working conditions. This was particularly evident with regard to the great pressure that teachers were exposed to in their day-to-day work and which resulted in particular from the lack of employment contracts and the school owner's ban on organizing themselves in a union. Furthermore, it turned out that those teachers at the school who had been recruited from other East African countries had entered the country with a “missionary visa” instead of a “work visa”. While none of these points probably constituted a violation of the law, they nevertheless presented me with ethical challenges: Should I write about these findings and thus make them public, even if this meant that I might harm the school owner - or the teachers who were so helpful to me ( harm) added? Would a way out of this dilemma be that I could choose a pseudonym for the school and thus report on the grievances I found without exposing the institution as such? For all of these questions, the ethics declarations presented under 14.2.1 and 14.2.2 only helped me to a limited extent in making a decision, as the values ​​and principles formulated there allowed for diverse and sometimes contradicting answers. If the value of "reciprocity" in my case meant that I had an obligation to the pastor to give something back, it couldn't be that I might "harm" her. The teachers, on the other hand - who had done even more than the school owner to make my research successful - had reported to me very openly about their problems at the school, but at the same time expressed their concern about possible dismissals of some of their colleagues would have been caught off guard. While they had also given me their “informed consent” to write about “everything” they told me Ethics and Reflexivity in Field Research 295 in formal and informal discussions, I was therefore not sure whether they would understand the consequences of such publication could actually foresee (even if I would of course make them unrecognizable as individuals). In research on institutions, the option of choosing a pseudonym for the school is often an effective means of making your identity unrecognizable to a larger group of readers. However, this did not work in the case of St. Mary’s International Primary School for various reasons. In particular, for a comprehensible analysis of the primary school, it was necessary to show what connection existed between its position as a religiously oriented school in the wider school landscape of the city and the Pentecostal Church led by the school owner. In addition, for the ethnographic understanding of the public profile of the school - and the related perceptions and actions of students and teachers - it was important to know that the primary school was part of a nationwide network of schools that defined the social status of the institution and the possibilities of mobility created across schools. All these characteristics only applied to this one school network in Tanzania, and its identity would therefore have been known immediately - even if a pseudonym had been used. Despite my concerns outlined above, I therefore decided to write about the primary school - and also the other school in the network in which I had researched - using their real names.In addition to the reasons mentioned, the decisive factor was that the problematic working conditions at the school had already been reported in the Tanzanian media. Especially when ethnographic research is about public institutions - or topics that are widely discussed politically or socially - reports about them can often be found in the media or publicly accessible social networks. For ethnological work, it is therefore important from an ethical point of view to explicitly cite these debates and to contextualize the analysis of one's own findings against this background (provided that this does not result in further potential risks for those who write on the [social] media, which are also unrecognizable do!). On the other hand, I felt it was important to contribute to the increasingly controversial public debate in Tanzania on the stratification of the education market without 'hiding' the identities of the schools I examined. In Tanzania, the education sector has expanded enormously since the mid-1990s - through privatization, neoliberal structural reforms and World Bank programs - and has also created increasing numbers of people entering higher education. At the same time, however, the rapidly increasing number of public and private educational institutions was linked to the creation of new social inequalities, from which Christian-oriented schools in particular benefited with their ever-increasing fees. By deciding to write about certain institutions with their real names, the aim should not be to publicly expose them as individual institutions or to criticize them individually. Rather, I considered it my ethical responsibility to present these case studies against the background of major historical and political-economic developments that show how specific phenomena and modes of action in the current Tanzanian school landscape came about as part of greater structural inequalities and market dynamics in the context of globalization are. 14.3.3 “Informed consent” and active intervention in research situations The second example concerns my research on living with HIV / AIDS in rural and urban Tanzania in the years 1999–2000. In this research, I investigated the way in which people who were infected with HIV or died of AIDS received support from their family, social and / or religious networks in the course of their illnesses, which were mostly fatal at the time. For this research - as well as for the school research described above - I needed a research permit, which I received on site after a long period of processing. Furthermore, the Tanzanian research authority also demanded a positive decision from an ethics committee, which at the time had not played a role at my home university in Germany - and the German Research Foundation, which financed my research. In Tanzania, I therefore had to go through the ethics review process myself with my project, which was carried out by the National Institute for Medical Research (NIMR). The ethical standards that I drafted for my application to the NIMR were based strongly on its medical and health science guidelines and included, among other things. a short research statement in Kiswahili, which I read to my respective interview partners and in which I asked for written or verbal consent to participate in my research project (informed consent). In addition to a description of the main goals of my research, this process assured my conversation partners and interviewees the right to ask questions about the research project and to be able to break off the interview at any point during the conversation. The statement also contained a paragraph that assured my interlocutors confidentiality of all personal information that came up during the interviews. I had to adapt the originally much more ethnological title of my research project to the requirements of the NIMR, and it then read: How people living with HIV / AIDS and their families are coping with the disease in rural and urban Tanzania. The strong emphasis placed on the ethics committee in Tanzania and its reviewers on informed consent in formal, semi-structured interviews makes it clear that the ethics reviews by interdisciplinary commissions sometimes have little to do with the realities of ethnographic research. In fact, most of my research methodology, which was decisive for my understanding of the topic - the participant observation, the countless informal conversations - was largely excluded. In the following field research, I explained my project to my research participants in each of these cases and ensured their consent to participate in my research. At the same time, however, there were countless situations - at funerals, visiting sick people, at public events, in spontaneous discussions at the market or in churches - where I also gained relevant insights into my topic. Here I was not able to inform those who often shared their knowledge and opinions ad hoc about my research and its current status. Another challenge that arose with regard to the subject of “informed consent” and the ethical value of “transparency in research” was the fact that the form for informed consent approved by the Tanzanian ethics committee was explicitly geared towards “HIV / AIDS” . The explicit naming of HIV / AIDS (Kiswahili: ukimwi) only played a subordinate role, especially in my research in rural areas, insofar as the disease was mostly only talked about indirectly. On the one hand, this was related to the fact that becoming infected with HIV / AIDS was often associated with witchcraft or the violation of social and cultural norms that can cause physical and mental suffering. On the other hand, the disease was heavily stigmatized - not only in rural areas, but also in the wider society of Tanzania: Confronting a conversation partner directly with the question of "HIV" or "AIDS" would have implied the accusation that either the Interviewee himself - or a community or family member who was discussed - led or had led an immoral lifestyle. In rural areas, I therefore began my interviews and informal discussions with the question of “serious” and “chronic” illnesses and how 298 Hansjörg Dilger individuals and family networks dealt with such challenges; The interviewees therefore decided for themselves whether they wanted to talk to me about “HIV / AIDS”. After all, the ethics review of the NIMR in Tanzania - as well as the Code of Ethics of the American Anthropological Association, on which I was oriented at the time - had not prepared me for cases in which I received information about possible infections with HIV in my research environment. In some cases, at least according to informal conversations and rumors, this appeared to be done deliberately, in other cases unknowingly or under conditions that structurally severely restricted the people's options for action and decision-making. In any case, however, I was asked about my own ethical responsibility, which I had based on the knowledge I had gained: Should I intervene and try to prevent further HIV infection? Was it even possible to do this on the basis of assumptions made by third parties, even if they referred to “established knowledge” (e.g. from health workers)? Didn't I risk stigmatizing the person concerned and possibly their family environment, which would be all the more serious if the alleged HIV infection later did not prove to be true? Was it at all 'ethical' to actively intervene in a situation in ethnographic research when the method of participant observation suggests participation in, but at the same time, restraint and distance in social situations? One of the (few) cases in which I decided to intervene was that of the young woman described at the beginning of the chapter who had recently given birth to a child. While parts of her family were aware of her HIV infection from a previous hospitalization, the woman herself had not been given the diagnosis. However, she expressed to me the suspicion that she might be infected with HIV, as well as a strong wish to gain certainty about this in order to prevent a possible infection of her child. Against the objections and wishes of the family members with whom I had spoken about it, I accompanied the woman to the hospital and convinced the counselor in charge to carry out an HIV test. The announcement of the HIV-positive diagnosis did not bring the result that the woman and I had hoped for: Neither could she wean her child permanently because she did not have the money for the artificial baby food in the long term. She still felt more comfortable in her home and with the family - and in view of the stigmatizing looks in the village that she described - and one night, without the knowledge of her family, she left with her child to visit her former partner in southern Tanzania. I felt complicit in the family anger over this action by their relatives. Only one year after the end of my field research did I rearrange my decision when the woman returned to the village with her now weaned child and found an acceptable way of dealing with her HIV diagnosis. During examinations in the hospital, it was also found that her child was still healthy. 14.3.4 Conclusions from the research examples The two examples from my research show that neither the ethics declarations and ethics codes of professional associations presented in Section 14.2 nor the standards of values ​​applied by ethics committees can answer all the questions that arise in ethnographic research. I present the conclusions resulting from this insight in this section and, based on this, show in Section 14.4 that ethnographic-ethnological work today in all its aspects is primarily characterized by the overarching ethical value of “(self-) reflexivity”. As the example described in 14.3.3 has shown, the ethics committee in Tanzania had very specific expectations of my research on HIV / AIDS, which were mainly characterized by medical and health science standards and clear ideas of an associated “informed consent”. The reality of ethnographic research, however, is usually completely different: Ethnological research is defined by its procedural dynamics and openness; Methods, topics and the people with whom we speak can only be determined in advance to a limited extent, and the 'quality' of our findings depends largely on the fact that we can flexibly adapt our approach in all these respects. In the end, such decisions have to be made independently or in consultation with colleagues, other students or supervisors. On the other hand, it is unrealistic to have such changes repeatedly assessed by an ethics committee, as is the case, among other things. is compulsory in English-speaking countries. Likewise, the ethics declarations and ethics codes of professional associations do not represent a 'blueprint' for ethnographic research, but have to be repeatedly reflected on with regard to their relevance with regard to specific situations and the resulting ethical decisions. The ethics declarations presented in Section 14.2 are central to the consideration of fundamental ethical values ​​such as do no harm, “reciprocity”, “transparency” and “responsibility” when planning and carrying out ethnographic research. However, the respective relevance and interpretation of these ethical values ​​with regard to 300 Hansjörg Dilger specific situations will vary, depending on the research conditions and topics as well as the often inconsistent interests of the people and groups with whom we are involved in research. In such moments we usually have to weigh up individually: whose interests from the group of research participants - or our own - do we prioritize with what effects? For whom or which situation do we accept potentially disadvantageous effects and possibly disappoint expectations placed in us regarding “reciprocal relationships”? When and under what conditions do we accept that there are necessarily limits to the comprehensive education of people about our research in certain ethnographic situations? Third, all of these situational answers to ethical questions are closely related to the positionality of researchers - their own biographical trajectories, their social position, their previous research experiences, etc. m. - linked. This includes, in particular, the question of 'actively intervening' in field situations, which newcomers in anthropology in particular often encounter with uncertainty, as they associate participant observation with 'restraint' rather than actively helping to shape the course of action in field research. At the same time, however, it is a basic requirement of ethnographic research that we build trust and human closeness in the field, which first give us differentiated insights into social relationships and everyday actions. In view of the social, and sometimes also friendly, relationships that arise here, ethnologists feel the ethical and moral obligation to act in certain situations - not only in applied (Klocke-Daffa 2019) or activist (Huschke 2015) research - possibly also in contradiction to theirs 'Better' ethical or professional knowledge. Such 'intervention' is consequently not 'unethical' - on the contrary - but it should be reflected above all with regard to its effects on the knowledge gained and the resulting situations: Especially 'crisis situations' in field research can be decisive for learning about social issues Behavior and moral norms in relation to a particular research topic and the group or institution we are investigating (Elwert 2003: 14). Finally, the above examples show that ethical questions not only play a role in the field research itself, but also in the subsequent evaluation, writing and, if necessary, publication of results. Here, not only is the use of pseudonyms to protect interlocutors or organizations and institutions with which we have dealt central - although the example of the primary school in Dar es Salaam also makes the limits of this responsibility clear. There is also the question of access to research results, ethics and reflexivity in field research, and the resulting insights that are closely linked to the value of the reciprocity of research. Questions about the language in which reports or publications are written play an important role here, so that they are accessible to our research partners. Access for non-academic audiences also increases significantly if scientific findings are not only available in university libraries or specialist journals - but also, for example, via blog texts, films or small exhibitions (Dilger and Falge 2019). 14.4 Reflexivity as an ethical value in ethnological work This article has summarized both the ethical positioning of professional associations in German-speaking and English-speaking countries as well as relevant formal legal debates on ethics reviews, research data management and copyright law (2). With a view to the further specialist debates in ethnology as well as two examples from my research in Tanzania, I then showed that daily ethnographic work is indeed decisively shaped by these overarching discussions and ethical positions; At the same time, however, decisions regarding one's own ethical responsibility are always made situationally and after weighing up different options for action, which are also closely linked to one's own positionality. These ethical questions go far beyond individual field research situations and expressly include the evaluation, archiving, writing (or other forms of documentation) and also the publication of research materials. In conclusion, I would like to emphasize that the basic ethical value of ethnographic-ethnological work lies in particular in the “continuous reflection” on these different challenges that we encounter in our activities.Ethical decisions by ethnologists are based on the one hand on the larger professional and formal-legal frameworks in which they study, research and work - and this explicitly includes the groups, institutions and countries where they are guests and which are often explicit here have normative requirements. On the other hand, anthropologists are challenged in their daily work to define their ethical procedures in the continuous confrontation with other people, concrete situations and with a view to their own positionality. 302 Hansjörg Dilger. At least since the writing culture debate in the 1980s, ethnology has understood itself as a reflective science: while this demand was primarily related to aspects of representation in ethnographic writing, “reflexivity” in today's ethnology primarily means an ethical stance which affects all areas of study, research and work in the subject. 14.5 Recommended literature for further work Ethical attitudes and decisions can only be practiced “dry” to a limited extent during the course of study - and before the first field research is carried out. It is therefore all the more important - beyond the ethics declarations and formal legal debates presented under 14.2 and 14.3 - to familiarize oneself with case studies that reflect the handling of ethical dilemmas in ethnographic research. The case studies in a special issue published by Wolff-Michael Roth and Hella von Unger (2018) give a good insight into the handling of ethical challenges in qualitative social research - including ethnologists. The article by Hansjörg Dilger (2017) - as well as his commentary by Gabriele Alex and Annette Hornbacher - summarizes discussions on ethics reviews and ethics commissions as well as their relevance and challenge for ethnology in Germany. For a critical examination of the instrument of “informed consent”, the use of which is increasingly expected by ethnologists in German-speaking countries, the article by Kirsten Bell (2014) is recommended. * I would like to thank Andre Gingrich, Sabine Imeri and Sabine Strasser as well as the editors of this volume for valuable information on this article. Of course, the responsibility for the final text lies with myself.