AAA Draft Code of Ethics Posted for Comment

From Lise Dobrin
The American Anthropological Association’s Task Force for Comprehensive Ethics Review has recently completed a multi-year process of revising the Association’s Code of Ethics (see the earlier discussion of this topic on this blog). Look here to view the draft code, read the Task Force’s final report, and submit your comments on the draft. The special subcommittee of the AAA Executive Board that is reviewing the Draft Code is chaired by Monica Heller, President-Elect of the AAA and a linguistic anthropologist.

Clearly the Task Force put a great deal of thought into what a code of ethics is and how it can best serve its users. Whether or not it is adopted, the AAA’s Draft Code sets a new benchmark for ethics codes. It represents a whole new kind of document, one that is dynamic and treats readers not simply as ‘adherents’, but as active explorers of ethical issues that concern them. Online users can follow links to resources that expand the discussion of particular segments of the code text, offering further perspectives on the kinds of subtlety and complexity that accompany ethical deliberation in the real world. At a session sponsored by the AAA Committee on Ethics at the AAA Annual Meeting in Montréal, Task Force members half-joked about developing an “ethics code iphone app”. What a terrific idea!

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