Research Ethics The American Anthropological Association (AAA) created a code of ethics to promote education and discussion However, it was not meant to be used to judge claims of unethical behavior Some of its main points: Disclosure and openness Avoid harm to research subjects Preserve opportunities for future researchers Be truthful Darkness in El Dorado was a shock to the world of anthropology ? it implied that Chagnon?s findings when working with the Yanomami were false and unethical The author, Patrick Tierney, made seven basic accusations against Chagnon: Chagnon misrepresented key dynamics of Yanomami society, including their level of violence The warfare that Chagnon observed was most likely a result of his own actions; the distribution of goods stimulated never-before-seen violence among the natives Chagnon staged many of his films; his movies consisted of staged productions in which the Yanomami followed pre-established scripts Chagnon fabricated the data used in his articles about the Yanomami, which stated that violence was an evolutionary adaptive principle (for instance, men who killed more people tended to have more wives and children) Chagnon acted unethically in collecting genealogies; the Yanomami have a taboo against naming deceased relatives, and when they invented names to satisfy Chagnon?s queries, he used unethical techniques to get around this difficulty Chagnon?s claim to be the first outsider was untrue ? a woman named Helena Valero was kidnapped by the Yanomami in 1932, lived with them for 50 years, and visited all the villages Chagnon claims to have contacted Chagnon?s attempt to establish a Yanomami reserve was really an attempt to find a way around the restrictions placed on visiting the natives by the Venezuelan government Also, the outsiders? presence worsened epidemics and ? largely unintentionally ? produced aggression The AAA responded by conducting a major investigation, including a fact-finding mission to Yanomami territory Most findings regarding Tierney?s allegations were inconclusive At least one allegation was dismissed, and most others were skirted around The investigation broadened, but the report was eventually repudiated by AAA membership But what did the Yanomami gain from this experience? Fame Possibly just compensation? Healthier and more secure life? They did receive greater attention to the provision of medical care and restrictions on visits by outsiders However, they remained vulnerable to disease epidemics, and miners and loggers continue to invade their land Unfortunately, it is difficult to evaluate a group based on observations of their behavior, due to the Hawthorne effect If a person changes the way they act because they know they are observed, how confident can we be of the truth value of what we have observed? Earlier controversies? Darkness was not the first to raise questions about Chagnon?s work In the early 1990?s, Salesians objected against Chagnon?s portrayals of Yanomami aggression He was effectively banned from Venezuelan Yanomami territory after 1993 Historical studies by R. Brian Ferguson also had negative effects Contact with the outside world Early on ? slavers and rubber tappers Mid-20th century ? government agents and missionaries Upsurge in epidemic diseases Metal tools produce imbalances in exchange
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