Comment on Kevin D. Haggerty, �Ethics Creep: Governing Social Science Research in the Name of Ethics�

Becker, Howard
December 2004
Qualitative Sociology;Winter2004, Vol. 27 Issue 4, p415
Academic Journal
This section comments on Kevin D. Haggerty's article entitled Ethics Creep: Governing Social Science Research in the Name of Ethics, featured in the Winter 2004 issue of Qualitative Sociology. According to the author, Haggerty, in the article, set out to warn about the likelihood that the sociological research field in the U.S. will find themselves operating in the kind of coercive situation he describes as characteristic of the Canadian research university. The author states that it would be easy to dismiss it as a north-of-the-border aberration if there aren't similar cases and problems arising everywhere in universities in the U.S. What began years ago as a sort of safeguard against doctors injecting cancer cells into research patients without first asking them if that was okay has turned into a serious, ambitious bureaucracy with interests to protect, a mission to promote, and a self-righteous and self-protective ideology to explain why it's all necessary. According to the author, maybe the mission will not continue to creep in the way Haggerty describes it is doing in Canada. But it would be foolish and reckless to assume that it can't happen in the U.S. It's a good working principle that anything that has happened can happen again.


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