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AAA Commission on the Engagement of Anthropology with the US Security and Intelligence Communities

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Abstract:

The Commission recognizes both opportunities and risks to those anthropologists choosing to engage with the work of the military, security and intelligence arenas. We do not recommend non-engagement, but instead emphasize differences in kinds of engagement and accompanying ethical considerations. We advise careful analysis of specific roles, activities, and institutional contexts of engagement in order to ascertain ethical consequences. These ethical considerations begin with the admonition to do no harm to those one studies (or with whom one works, in an applied setting) and to be honest and transparent in communicating what one is doing. Given this framework, we offer procedural recommendations to AAA designed to address current and future issues, to foster civil and open discussion of them, and to offer guidance to individual anthropologists who might consider such work.