Ethics in practice: tensions between prospective and emergent research ethics
This is the last seminar in the Gender Studies Seminar Series in Methodologies this spring of 2021. For this seminar we would like to welcome Sara Eldén from the Department of Sociology at Lund University. Please note that you must register to participate in this seminar.
Research ethics today are, to a great extent, articulated by prospective regulations. Laws, rules and committee-based procedures aim to anticipate ethical problems and secure good principles in a given project in advance. Much research, and particularly qualitative research, is however characterized by what might be called emergent ethics. Although some risks can be foreseen, many others evolve during the project, and are closely related to unfolding methodological challenges embedded in interactions on the field (Wästerfors, 2019).
In this talk, I discuss the tension between the need to adhere to prospective ethics regimes, and the experience of emergent ethical dilemmas in research practice. The point of departure is a recently published book, Forskningsetik: Vägval i samhällsvetenskapliga studier (Studentlitteratur, 2020), where I highlight and discuss both current ethics regulations in Sweden, but also ethics in practice, that is, ethical questions that may emerge in all stages of a research project – from formulation of research problem, to fieldwork, analysis, and reporting of a study. I argue that the social sciences need to reclaim expertise in the field of research ethics, and critically engage with the current top-down regulation, which have resulted in a review process where the biomedical model basically defines what research is, how it is carried out and what is considered to be ethical conduct.
External participants must register to receive a link to the seminar. The registration will open on April 22.
Read more about Sara Eldén's research on the website of Department of Sociology.