Excerpt: In 1977, an officer of the American Anthropological Association (AAA) testified that institutional ethics review was ‘inappropriate for ethnographic research’ and argued that ‘the application of the medical model tends to stultify and discourage ethnographic research. . .at no savings in damage to people’ (Wynn 2011: 94).
By 2004, the organization had a radically different position, stating that the process of cultivating ‘a strong foundation for the ethical conduct of research with human populations. . . should actively involve the researcher and the IRB [institutional review boards, i.e. ethics committees], the researcher and participants, and finally the IRB, the researcher and stakeholders’ (AAA 2004).
This historical shift in the AAA’s stance parallels the history of ethics review bureaucracies, which had their origin in clinical research and gradually expanded to encompass other disciplines over the past three decades. As the ethics review regime expanded and swallowed up new disciplines and methodologies, these disciplines were incorporated into new audit structures, and in turn incorporated them into their disciplinary practices.
Wynn L (2014) Ethics review regimes and Australian anthropology. The Australian Journal of Anthropology 25 (3): 373–375