Saibu Mutaru, Anthropology PhD student, has won the Monica Wilson student essay prize at ASnA 2017!


We are proud to announce that Saibu Mutaru, anthropology PhD student, has won the Monica Wilson student essay prize at ASnA 2017!

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Picture above: Saibu Mutaru and Shannon Morreira who is the new editor of the journal Anthropology Southern Africa.

Annual ASnA Conference Held at Chancellor College, University of Malawi, Zomba,

Malawi between 18th and 20th August, 2017

Conference Organizer Anthropology Southern Africa (ASnA)
Main Theme of the Conference Strengthening the Teaching of Anthropology in Southern Africa
Student Name Saibu Mutaru (PhD Candidate, Social Anthropology)
Conference Topic Conducting Anthropological Fieldwork: Ethical dilemmas of ‘data larceny’ and ‘multiple respondent’
Abstract This paper seeks to discuss two ethical dilemmas that I encountered during the time of my fieldwork in Northern Ghana. These two ethical dilemmas could be presented hypothetically and metaphorically in the form of questions as follows: How legitimate and ethical is it for a researcher to gain access to data provided by a child with the consent of only the mother and not the father in a patriarchal society? Secondly, how must we surmount the ethical problem involving a case where a ‘consecrated informant’ speaks not by himself but through multiple voices all claiming to represent the opinion of the informant? In one way or the other, every research project is confronted with some kind of ethical conundrum. Many research textbooks pre-empt the occurrence of some of these ethical dilemmas during fieldwork and thus provide guidance on how to prevent them from occurring, or even surmount them when the occur. However, during fieldwork the researcher could get overwhelmed by the availability of several alternative approaches to dealing with a situation. Moreover, researchers could get confused when they are confronted with certain ethical dilemmas which have never been seen or read in research textbooks. For a young and inexperienced anthropologist conducting fieldwork, such situations could be very daunting and disorienting. In this paper, I discuss my fieldwork experiences in relation to these two ethical dilemmas. The first dilemma, which I shall call ‘data larceny’, involves a situation where data is obtained from a ‘protected interviewee’ without the consent of a principal stakeholder. The second ethical dilemma involves conducting interview with a ‘consecrated informant’ who, for cultural reasons, decides to respond through multiple voices of his confidants. The multifarious nature of the consecrated informant’s response qualifies him to be labelled as a ‘multiple respondent’.