February 20, 2010

David Price on HTS (Counterpunch)

David Price has a new article over at Counterpunch that discusses the experiences of John Allison, a cultural anthropologist/archaeologist who was recruited into the Human Terrain Systems project. An excerpt:

These issues have such significance to professionally trained anthropologists that the military is increasingly becoming aware that the unethical nature of the everyday procedures makes it difficult for them to hire Ph.D. anthropologists with normative understandings of ethical practices. One choice for the military facing this problem would be to halt a program that necessitates engaging in ethically problematic behaviors; the other choice for the military could be to start training their own “ethnographers” and “anthropologists,” with a different standard of ethical behavior. According to John Allison, the military appears interested in the second of these two choices; in early December he wrote me that he concluded, “that the military is beginning to do an end run by producing its own anthropologists/social scientist PhDs at West Point, the Air Force Academy, the Naval Academy and other cooperating institutions; thus marginalizing the criticism.”

Take the time to read the whole article. This is, in my opinion, a serious problem for anthropologists (understatement).

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