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Health (London). 2005 Oct;9(4):473-90.

Exporting ethics: a narrative about narrative research in South India.

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Boston College, MA 02167, USA.


The article notes some problems with the prepositional discourse of research ethics that is dominant in the West, and joins the call for an ethics-in-context approach in the human sciences. Using detailed examples from my fieldwork in South India to develop a narrative about ethical conflicts, I explore the problematics of informed consent, confidentiality and other concepts central to research ethics in the USA. The article underscores the inherent and practical risks associated with ethical universalism - applying 'universal' moral principles that have been constructed (that is, derived) in one cultural context and exporting them, without modifications, to another. The personal narrative includes my emotions in the field; they do moral work. The article draws theoretically from Bakhtin, Rabinow and feminist scholars of the Indian diaspora.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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