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Australasian Human Research Ethics Consultancy Services Pty Ltd (AHRECS)

Ethical Imperialism’ and the Export of Research Ethics Regulation from the Global North to South Africa (Papers: Mark Israel | May 2017)

 


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Abstract
The global export of principlism forms part of broader international flows of capital, students and academics, as well as knowledge and ideology. The impact of global capital has had a long-standing effect on research ethics governance. Pharmaceutical companies have sought to open up new markets and take advantage of cheaper sites for multi-centre drug trials. Multinational research teams have looked to those countries with lower risks of litigation, low labour costs, pharmacologically ‘naive’ participants, weak ethics review and the absence of other regulatory processes. As a result, research in low- and middleincome countries has burgeoned. As developing countries struggle to keep pace, the Helsinki and UNESCO Declarations have created regulatory templates for those without the infrastructure to create their own, and a range of capacity-building initiatives in research ethics have encouraged researchers in many developing countries to follow these models. Increasing student and academic mobility and international research collaboration between the global North and South may also ease international transfer of a range of research and education policies that favour universalist approaches to research ethics. Contemporary regulations in countries such as South Africa have shadowed developments in the North and have extended biomedical regulation to all forms of research. However, in some parts of the global South and the Fourth World, there is an emerging distrust and a critique of the motivation for some of the funding for capacitybuilding in research ethics. For many, opposition to universalist claims is not simply targeted at insensitivity in application but draws on critical ethical traditions such as indigenous, postmodern and postcolonial ethics to challenge the universal basis for principlism, and calls for a deeper understanding of and engagement with how different societies, cultures, peoples and disciplines understand ethics, research and ethical research.

Israel, M (2017) ‘Ethical Imperialism’ and the Export of Research Ethics Regulation from the Global North to South Africa. AFSAAP Annual Conference Proceedings – Africa: Moving the Boundaries. ISBN 978-0-9942689-2-1.
http://afsaap.org.au/assets/15-Mark-Israel.pdf



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