- Executive Toolbox
- Career Center
- About Us
American Anthropological Association, Arlington, Va., approved what the association calls “a rigorous overhaul” of its ethics code, spurred by the U.S. Army’s use of “human terrain systems.”
The association believes HTS “contravenes anthropological ethics,” according to a blog post at the association’s website, www.aaanet.org. HTS is a method of using experts of different scientific disciplines, including anthropology, to better understand the local culture and society in which the military is deployed. The first AAA ethics code was written in 1971, in response to controversies over the Vietnam War, an association statement said.
The new document, “Statement on Ethics: Principles of Professional Responsibility,” took five years to develop. Members were given six weeks to vote on the code, which was approved by an 93 percent of those who voted.
"The effort to revise our ethics code, undertaken over several years, involved outreach to the entire membership and negotiation with our many different subdisciplines, communities and interests to produce a document that would be useful for teaching and practice," AAA president Leith Mullings said.
The code also takes advantage of today’s technology. For instance, the new code includes hyperlinks to pertinent case study materials, reference documents, websites and articles. The statement has a series of references after each defining principle to allow the readers to find further sources of information and data.
The code is based on seven principles: do no harm; be open and honest regarding your work; obtain informed consent and necessary permissions; weigh competing ethical obligations due collaborators and affected parties; make your results accessible; protect and preserve your records; and maintain respectful and ethical professional relationships. View the document at http://www.aaanet.org/coe/Code_of_Ethics.pdf.