Anthropological Controversies: The 'Crimes' and Misdemeanors that Shaped a Discipline

Gavin Weston, Natalie Djohari

Research output: Book/ReportBook


This book uses controversies as a gateway through which to explore the origins, ethics, key moments, and people in the history of anthropology. It draws on a variety of cases including complicity in "human zoos", Malinowski’s diaries, and the Human Terrain System to explore how anthropological controversies act as a driving force for change, how they offer a window into the history of and research practice in the discipline, and how they might frame wider debates such as those around reflexivity, cultural relativism, and the politics of representation. The volume provokes discussion about research ethics and practice with tangible examples where gray areas are brought into sharp relief. The controversies examined in the book all involve moral or practical ambiguities that offer an opportunity for students to engage with the debate and the dilemmas faced by anthropologists, both in relation to the specific incidents covered and to the problems posed more generally due to the intimate and political implications of ethnographic research.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages212
ISBN (Print)9781138616721
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2020


  • Anthropology
  • Malinowski
  • Margaret Mead
  • Ethics
  • Ethnography

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