Accounting for ethics: towards a de-humanised comparative approach
journal contributionposted on 26.03.2018, 09:44 by Natasha E. Whiteman
In rejecting the ultimate authority of proceduralised ethics and instead emphasising the ongoing complexity of ethical manoeuvring, writing on ethics-as-process often presents the individual researcher as the authentic locus of ethical practice. This article seeks to distance from such humanist tendencies. It aims to shift attention away from the experience of the ethical researcher to consider, rather, the fixing of ethical stances in accounts of activity. Arguing for a comparative approach to the empirical, accounts of two different activities are examined: online research and online media consumption. A framework for describing the anchoring of ethical positions across these texts is introduced, one that challenges the achievement of ethical ‘security’ in research. It is argued that claims that the researcher is an authentic point of access to an ethical truth must give way to a consideration of the modes by which ethical claims are made.