Lise Dobrin writes:
After tinkering with its Code of Ethics on and off for years, in 2008 the American Anthropological Association established a Task Force to provide a comprehensive review the Code and propose revisions in a more systematic way. Although the process was originally expected to be completed by November 2010, the research and reflection demanded by such an ambitious project has (understandably) caused the timetable to expand; the new draft code and associated report will be submitted to the AAA Executive Board this November, after which the AAA membership will have the opportunity to vote on the final draft.
Besides being refreshingly proactive (the American anthropological community is very good at monitoring itself and exploding in controversy over the ethical comportment of its members), one of the most exciting aspects of the Code review is the consultative nature of the process the Task Force has adopted. Early in its review the Task Force conducted a member survey to help them understand how anthropologists were using the current Code, where they felt it was insufficient, and what they believed they needed a code for. Now, as they begin thinking about revisions, they are trying to identify core statements or principles (“Be open and honest regarding your work. Make your results accessible.“, “Balance competing ethical obligations due collaborators and affected parties“), and are asking for our help in crafting those. They are posting their thoughts on the AAA blog, principle by principle, and soliciting comments/feedback from anyone who cares enough about anthropological ethics to respond. The process is continuing for another few months, so keep checking back to see what you think!